Vol. 30, No. 11 - November 21, 2018

State agencies release assessments of timber damage caused by Hurricane Michael

On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, as a Category 4 hurricane, impacting multiple states from Florida to Virginia and causing significant damage to forests in the panhandle of Florida and South Georgia. Recently, state agencies in Florida and Georgia released preliminary assessments of timber damage caused by the hurricane using aerial reconnaissance, ground surveys, geospatial analyses, Forest Inventory & Analysis data, and recent stumpage prices.

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Forest growth responses to climate change

Forest response to potential climate change is of critical interest to landowners and the forest products industry for purposes of planning, management, and investing. Forecasts of future growth rely on climate models to project future climates combined with forest growth models to simulate forest response. Recently, NCASI undertook a review of 25 forest modeling studies to evaluate possible futures. A paper presenting results from the review has been published in the American Journal of Climate Change. The paper, which was authored by Dr. Craig Loehle, is available for free download.

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Darren Miller begins service as President of The Wildlife Society

Dr. Darren Miller, Vice President of NCASI Forestry Programs, began a one-year term as President of The Wildlife Society (TWS) in late September during the TWS Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The Wildlife Society is the professional organization of wildlife biologists with over 10,000 members. Dr. Miller has served in multiple leadership roles in TWS over the past 20+ years.

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eDNA as a tool for sustainable forestry

Environmental DNA (eDNA) has emerged as a tool for identifying presence of species and quantifying biological diversity associated with aquatic ecosystems. Environmental DNA is any DNA originating in cells from the body or waste products of an organism and that is collected from an environmental sample (e.g., stream water) rather than directly from an organism. Recently, scientists with NCASI, Weyerhaeuser Company, U.S. Forest Service, and Oregon State University authored a paper that describes potential applications of eDNA as a tool for managers in forestry and wood product manufacturing. The paper, which appears in Science of the Total Environment, describes the geographical representation of freshwater eDNA studies in the literature, identified targeted species, and evaluated how estimated taxa richness compares between traditional field approaches and eDNA techniques using metagenomic methods (in which samples are evaluated for DNA of multiple species).

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Managed forests in the southeastern US and open-pine woodland conditions

Private working forests in the southeastern Coastal Plains offer opportunities to provide habitat for many species of conservation concern adapted to open-canopy forests, such as gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), Bachman’s sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis), and prairie warbler (Dendroica discolor). Recently, scientists with Mississippi State University (MSU), NCASI, and Weyerhaeuser Company conducted a study to evaluate the extent to which managed pine stands replicate historical open pine structural conditions and provide habitat for the gopher tortoise, an open pine keystone species. Results from the study appear in a paper that is scheduled for publication in Forest Ecology and Management in early 2019.

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