People all around the world manipulate ecosystems for their own purposes. It’s what you leave behind when you’re finished working or living in the area that determines whether the ecosystem survives or is irreparably harmed for future generations. For scientists like John Parrotta, national program leader for international science issues with the U.S. Forest Service, knowing what to leave behind is not always found in a college textbook or scientific journal.
Forestry data is now available to resource professionals and the public in an engaging portfolio of web-based tools and applications.
The U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program is in the information gathering business. The program invests $75 million a year to collect data across three themes: field inventories of forest land, a census of the forest products industry, and surveys of forest land owners.
Forest Service researchers collaborated with partners to develop analytic tools that identify specific areas where water drains off forest roads and carries unwanted sediment into waterways. These tools, GRAIP (Geomorphic Road Analysis and Inventory Package) and GRAIP-Lite, informed new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy decisions.
On May 20, 2016, the U.S. Forest Service and Chinese Academy of Sciences jointly entered a scientific partnership. After years of sharing a mutual interest in urban forestry and ecology, the duo signed an official Letter of Intent declaring their new collaborative relationship.
Every year urban populations in the U.S. and China grow, increasing the need for a greater understanding of the natural aspects of a city (urban trees, wildlife, water) and how they interact with the social parts of cities such as clean water, climate resilience, or sustainable living.
In today’s world of changing climates and unnatural human transport of pathogens and pests, a species’ survival relies on its adaptability more than ever. Easy-going temperaments and flexibility aren’t the types of adaptive natures a species needs. A species needs genetic diversity so that within its populations certain traits already exist that can help it adapt to and survive new threats. The U.S. Forest Service is a leader in realizing the need to conserve genetic diversity and operates genetic conservation programs to maintain it within tree species.
The emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle from Asia, is blitzing ash trees in urban and forested ecosystems across North America. To date, this metallic green beetle has attacked and killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in 25 states, and its spread continues. To control this beetle, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is using biological control, a long-term sustainable management tool that involves the introduction of specialized natural enemies from a pest’s native region.