Volume 9, Issue 1 - January/February 2016
Eastern Threat Center Highlights Cont'd
How Does Intensive Forest Management Affect Global Carbon Storage?
A growing world population demands more wood and fiber, much of which is harvested from intensively managed forests. In these forests, tree growth as well as post-harvest land cover changes can be easy to see, but an invisible part of the management process has captured the attention of scientists and university collaborators with the Eastern Threat Center. Following a study published in Forest Ecology and Management, researchers concluded that high forest productivity in managed forests often comes at the expense of carbon storage in soils. After reviewing current global datasets and comparing characteristics of managed and unmanaged stands, “We discovered that carbon is allocated differently between plant parts in managed forests, with relatively greater aboveground productivity and lower belowground carbon storage,” says , a North Carolina State University scientist working with the Eastern Threat Center and the study’s lead author. “The greater frequency of harvests and physical disturbance of soils in managed forests results in higher soil respiration and carbon loss.” Read more in CompassLive...
Right: Trees are harvested from a forest plantation. Photo from U.S. Forest Service Forest Operations Research Archive, Bugwood.org.
International Scientist and ForWarn Researchers Meet Over a Common Challenge
Miguel Ortega Huerta, a scientist with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, is seeking to understand vegetation damage following Hurricane Jova, a powerful storm that struck Mexico’s western coast in October 2011. These impacts can be difficult to discern from remote sensing in the tropical dry forests that surround his field station in Chamela (in the state of Jalisco). He recently visited the Eastern Threat Center in Asheville, North Carolina, to present passive remote sensing methods and results from his work during a consultation with ForWarn researchers Bill Hargrove and Steve Norman. “Hurricane impacts differ in many ways from smaller disturbances like tornadoes, ice storms, or fire. Like Dr. Ortega Huerta, the ForWarn team has struggled to understand similarly complex landscape-to-regional responses that follow powerful storms that have struck the United States,” says Norman. He explains, "Along with damaging winds, hurricanes bring rain that can alleviate drought. At the edges, they can bring dry winds that can whip up wildfires. These changes are particularly hard to detect in satellite-based images of both tropical dry and temperate forests because the hurricane season is usually at the end of the growing season when decline in vegetation growth is normal.” After his Asheville visit, Ortega Huerta presented his work and engaged in additional discussion with ForWarn partners at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Expertise and insights exchanged among researchers facing common challenges could ultimately help land managers better understand hurricane impacts and develop more effective monitoring and management plans.
Left: A MODIS image from NASA’s Terra satellite shows Hurricane Jova approaching western Mexico on October 10, 2011. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
New Book Introduces Students to Fundamentals of Remote Sensing
Students have a new resource for understanding technology that monitors land, water, sky, and space from aircraft and satellites. Center research ecologist Frank Koch is a co-author of Principles of Applied Remote Sensing, one of the first textbooks to cover many aspects of remote sensing for both graduate and undergraduate students, including data acquisition, tools, applications, international laws and policy, and future trends. According to the publisher, “Remote sensing is an exciting, dynamic technology that is transforming the Earth sciences…as well as the practices of agriculture, disaster response, engineering, natural resources, providing evidence in legal cases and documented humanitarian crises, and many other fields. Increasingly, understanding of these techniques will be central to a number of disciplines, particularly as the technology advances.” Visit the Springer website to learn more.