Monitoring for Impacts of Climate Change: Tracking and measuring outcomes in northeastern forests

University of Vermont, Davis Center, December 13, 2019

Agenda

2019 marks the 29th year of the Monitoring Cooperative! This year's conference will focus in on the ways in which we can monitor and assess how impacts from climate change are being felt, and how we can evaluate the success of efforts to manage or mitigate these impacts. We are still developing the agenda, so check back for updates

Download PDF resources below including the conference agendas, presentation abstracts, and more.
Download Abbreviated Agenda Download Full Agenda (Last updated: 12/6/2019)

This program has been approved for 4 Category 1 Continuing Forestry Education credits by the Society of American Foresters

8:15 - 9:00
Registration and Coffee
8:30 - 8:45
What is the FEMC?
First time at the FEMC conference? Want to learn more about what the FEMC does and how it works? Grab some coffee and join us for a quick pre-conference intro session to kick off your day.
9:00 - 9:15
Introduction and Welcome
9:15 - 11:00
Plenary: Monitoring Effects and Effectiveness

Opening remarks by Michael Snyder, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Richard Primack, Professor of Biology, Boston University
Using historical records combined with modern records to track the effects of climate change on the plants and animals of Thoreau’s Concord.
Dr. Primack will discuss his work on the effects of climate change on the flowering, leafing out, fruiting, and leaf senescence times of plants, the migration times of birds and flight times of insects in Massachusetts, and the potential for ecological mismatches among species caused by changes in timing.
John Scanlon, Habitat Program Supervisor
Evaluating Success of Monitoring for Impacts of Climate Change on State Wildlife Lands in Massachusetts
Mr. Scanlon will discuss how MassWildlife designed restoration and management practices with climate change in mind, how they have monitored vegetative responses, breeding bird responses, and pollinating insect responses, and the challenges faced in teasing apart climate change from other processes such as deer herbivory and long term, on-going response to previous agricultural conversion and subsequent abandonment.
Bio

11:00 - 11:20
Coffee break
11:20 - 12:20
Contributed Talks 1

Parallel tracks of 20-minute presentations contributed by cooperators on various forest ecosystem research, monitoring and outreach activities

Time Climate and forest ecosystems
Moderator: Cormac Quinn
Room: Silver Maple
Forest Pests and Diseases
Moderator: TBD
Room: TBD
Technology and Partnerships
Moderator: TBD
Room: TBD
Forest Management
Moderator: TBD
Room: TBD
11:20 to 11:40

Forest Carbon: An essential natural solution for climate change

Paul Catanzaro

+ ABSTRACT

Using Invasive Species Data and Tools to Inform Management Priorities

Jennifer Dean

+ ABSTRACT

Motus for New England

Carol Foss

+ ABSTRACT

Climate Change and stream crossing practices on Vermont's timber harvests

David Wilcox

+ ABSTRACT

Forest Carbon: An essential natural solution for climate change

Paul Catanzaro, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Presenter: Paul Catanzaro, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Forests play a critical role in reducing the effects of climate change. There is growing debate about the most appropriate strategy to maximize this benefit. This presentation will cover the role carbon plays within forests, the impacts and trade-offs of land-use options on forest carbon, and specific carbon-informed forest management strategies to help maintain carbon storage during a timber harvest.

Using Invasive Species Data and Tools to Inform Management Priorities

Jennifer Dean, New York Natural Heritage Program
Meg Wilkinson, New York Natural Heritage Program

Presenter: Jennifer Dean, New York Natural Heritage Program

Invasive species are a constant challenge for forest management, and there is a growing need for data tools to help focus limited resources, particularly as changes in climate intensify invasiveness potentials. In New York, the state invasive species database program has aggregated monitoring information from agencies, NGOs, and citizen scientists for over 10 years. Managed by the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), the state database provides a centralized spot for stakeholders to report and access standardized location and treatment data through the iMapInvasives system. Recent updates to iMapInvasives make mobile data collection tools, email alerts, data exports, and web map services more accessible to all users across North America. NYNHP is working with state partners to identify ways to use the invasive species data to prioritize management decisions at many spatial scales. We developed an invasive species tiering process to create standardized, yet locally-specific, species lists based on abundance data, invasiveness assessments, and expert input. To help conservation partners decide where to focus their efforts when surveying and managing for invasive species, we also developed a synthesis map layer for New York. This model indicates areas predicted to have high value natural areas prone to new invasive species populations and dispersals by incorporating component models of ecological significance, protected areas, and anthropogenic stressors. These products are being used by Cornell University in an optimization model to create a decision tool that provides recommended management actions by species and location. As more invasive species information becomes available across the Northeast, there is potential for these tools to be scaled up to help inform regional strategies.

Motus for New England

Carol Foss, NH Audubon

Presenter: Carol Foss, NH Audubon

The Motus Wildlife Tracking Network is an international collaboration of researchers that uses coordinated automated radio telemetry receiving stations to study movements of birds, bats, and even large insects. This network is key to locating areas important to the long-term conservation of species of conservation concern, including forest birds. An effort is currently underway to expand the network of receiving stations in the northeastern United States. This presentation will discuss the history and current status of Motus, applications with northern forest birds, and data from several existing receiving stations.

Climate Change and stream crossing practices on Vermont's timber harvests

Karl Honkonen, USDA Forest Service
David Wilcox, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Presenter: David Wilcox, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

As our climate changes, so do challenges in timber harvesting operations. A stream that may have been a small trickle one day could be a raging torrent the next. If you're planning a timber harvest in Vermont and run into this situation, how do you get your timber from one side of the stand to the other? Stream crossings are the main source of sediment associated with logging operations. Many stream crossing structures are undersized to handle increasingly larger and more frequent flood events. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (VT FP&R) received a grant from the US Forest Service to improve stream crossing practices on timber harvesting operations to reduce nonpoint source pollution. This project provided technical assistance to loggers participating in the Portable Skidder Bridge Rental Program to ensure that bridges were installed, used and removed correctly, and that Acceptable Management Practice (AMP) compliance was attained, ensuring a higher level of protection for water resources.
11:40 to 12:00

Northern hardwood forest soil respiration response to climate change: Insights from multiple climate manipulation experiments

Andrew Reinmann

+ ABSTRACT

What are we looking for - a review of regional potential incoming invasive species

Judy Rosovsky

+ ABSTRACT

LiDAR-derived stream mapping stands to drastically improve NH stream data

Austin Hart

+ ABSTRACT

Comparison of the resistance of even-aged and uneven-aged stands to environmental stressors in temperate forests as measure by tree mortality

Rebeca Cordero Montoya

+ ABSTRACT

Northern hardwood forest soil respiration response to climate change: Insights from multiple climate manipulation experiments

Andrew Reinmann, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center

Presenter: Andrew Reinmann, CUNY Advanced Science Research Center

To be confirmed

What are we looking for - a review of regional potential incoming invasive species

Judy Rosovsky, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Presenter: Judy Rosovsky, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

There is a large network of Federal and state personnel who work closely together to monitor and detect pests and diseases across the nation. Some of these pests and diseases are locally important, some are of regional concern and some can affect most of the country, like the tree killing emerald ash borer. History suggests that if a pest or disease is established in one New England state it is likely to move to neighboring states.
The cold winters of New York and New England have traditionally protected us from many pests and diseases. As the climate changes, this protection will diminish. Milder winters will offer pests and diseases, especially those from the south, more opportunities to become established.
An additional concern is that of deliberately introduced pests or diseases. In recent years USDA Veterinarian Service personnel, their state counterparts and FBI members exchanged information concerning possible introduced animal diseases, like African Swine Fever. This year plant pests and diseases were introduced to the discussion.
Nursery stock is another route of entry for pests and diseases. In 2019 VT had trace forwards for two Federally regulated pests and diseases: boxwood blight and Chrysanthemum white rust. Nationally there were 2 trace forwards for Sudden Oak Death Syndrome (SODS) infested plants that had made it to the Midwest.
This review will cover pests and diseases that are currently in the NE/NY area and are likely to spread in the region or have shown a capacity to cross large distances rapidly. This includes the diseases mentioned above and oak wilt, now found in NY. Likely future incoming pests are the European cherry fruit fly, found in northwestern NY, and another fruit fly, the spotted winged Drosophila, present in most states in this area; the brown-tailed moth and its urticating hairs, in eastern Maine; the velvet longhorned beetle, a cousin to the Asian Longhorned beetle; and the infamous spotted lantern fly, well established in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. North of New England are the brown spruce longhorned beetle and the spruce budworm, and from the south we have the southern pine beetle and the elongate hemlock scale, making their way north.

LiDAR-derived stream mapping stands to drastically improve NH stream data

Austin Hart, White Mountain National Forest
Landon Gryczkowski, White Mountain National Forest
Josh Keeley, New Hampshire Geological Survey

Presenter: Austin Hart, White Mountain National Forest

The White Mountain National Forest and the New Hampshire Geological Survey are using state-wide LiDAR bare earth elevation data to generate more accurate flowlines. This is achieved using a Python script that combines surface morphology and surface flow accumulation. Field validation has shown that this model is promising though not without shortcomings. Factors like substrate, slope, aspect, and forest-type also may affect stream development and are hard to fit cleanly into a model. High resolution LiDAR elevation data also includes man-made features, which pose major issues to modeling water flow, especially under a bridge or through a culvert. Even in their preliminary form, the new flowlines are vast improvements from their predecessors.

Comparison of the resistance of even-aged and uneven-aged stands to environmental stressors in temperate forests as measure by tree mortality

Rebeca Cordero Montoya, Institut des Sciences de la For?t Temp?r?e, Universit? du Qu?bec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.
Philippe Nolet, Institut des Sciences de la For?t Temp?r?e, Universit? du Qu?bec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.
Christian Messier, Institut des Sciences de la For?t Temp?r?e, Universit? du Qu?bec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.
Anthony D'Amato, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 204E Aiken Center Burlington, VT 05405, USA

Presenter: Rebeca Cordero Montoya, Institut des Sciences de la Forêt Tempérée, Université du Québec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.

With global change, forest trees will be exposed to more and more stress in the coming decades. However, little is known about how forest management will interact with these stressors and how they will impact the ability of trees to resist disturbances. Resistance is the capacity of an ecosystem to absorb the effect of a disturbance and to remain largely intact; therefore, in our case, tree mortality is assumed to show a lack of resistance. The objective of this study was to compare stress-related tree mortality in the two most common silvicultural systems used in Northern hardwoods: even-aged and uneven-aged silviculture (hereafter EAS and UAS). Our hypothesis is that the forests managed under EAS will show a higher resistance to stressors as measured by density independent mortality than UAS.
Using a novel terrestrial mobile LiDAR technique, we mapped all dead and living trees (>10 cm DBH) within 40 sugar maple dominated stands: 16 even-aged, 16 uneven-aged and 8 old-growth stands. We separated the relative role of forest management on individual tree mortality from other factors such as size, species and neighbour competition by modelling the probability of mortality for each tree. We observed that density-dependent mortality was similar between EAS and UAS stands. Nevertheless, for large trees, density-independent mortality was greater in the UAS than EAS stands. This is assumed to be due to the fact that trees in UAS stands often go through several periods of growth suppression, increasing their vulnerability to various biotic and abiotic stressors compared to trees in EAS stands, which experience a more stable neighbourhood competition during their lifecycle. Our study suggests that the type of silvicultural system used can have important effects on the resistance of forests to global changes.
12:00 to 12:20

Vermont's Functioning Floodplains Initiative--Reconnections in the Riverscape

Mike Kline

+ ABSTRACT

Trends in invasive plants in eastern National Park forests

Aaron Weed

+ ABSTRACT

The Catskill Science Collaborative: A unique partnership for research, resource management, and outreach.

Jamie Deppen

+ ABSTRACT

Silviculture with birds in mind: effects of disturbance-based forestry practices on habitat characteristics and carbon storage

William Keeton

+ ABSTRACT

Vermont's Functioning Floodplains Initiative--Reconnections in the Riverscape

Mike Kline, Fluvial Matters, LLC
Gretchen Alexander, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Presenter: Mike Kline, Fluvial Matters, LLC

A partnership of Vermont agencies and organizations is developing and applying data and mapping methodologies to support river reach and watershed-scale restoration of stream, wetland, and floodplain function. New fluvial process data and a publicly accessible mapping platform will be used to promote the restoration of natural floodplain functions and optimize the implementation of conservation and restoration practices that address the loss of stream, wetland, and floodplain connectivity. Fundamental to Vermont's climate adaptation effort will be promoting change at relatable natural and socio-economic scales. Changes in land practice to restore functioning floodplains are largely at the discretion of local communities and landowners and state/federal technical and funding assistance programs must be geared toward local asset management. The Functioning Floodplains Initiative will seek to garner local community support by publicizing and tracking the accumulation of the natural and socio-economic assets derived from connected and naturally functioning floodplains, including: fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, avoided damage from floods and fluvial erosion, and the storage of carbon affecting the earth's climate.

Trends in invasive plants in eastern National Park forests

Kate Miller, National Park Service, Inventory and Monitoring
Camilla Seirup, National Park Service, Inventory and Monitoring
Aaron Weed, National Park Service, Inventory and Monitoring

Presenter: Aaron Weed, National Park Service

The National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring Program (NPS I&M) monitors forest health in a network of permanent plots in eastern national parks. The 39 parks included in this study vary widely in size, land use history, climate, and designation, but all are impacted by invasive exotic plant species and the threat of further expansion and new invasion. Here we present preliminary findings regarding trends in invasive plants in the northeastern national parks over the last 12 years of monitoring. We used mixed effects models to determine how invasive plant abundance is changing over time in each park and assessed multiple scales and metrics of plant invasion, including proportion of plots invaded, frequency of 1m2 quadrats invaded, and average percent cover of invasives. We assessed trends in invasive plants overall, by species, and by the following guilds: trees, shrubs/vines, graminoids, and herbs.
Parks vary considerably in their degree of invasion: Acadia National Park is the least invaded park (4.6% of plots invaded) while the most invaded parks are in the mid-Atlantic states (9 parks with 100% plots invaded). Increasing trends in invasive species abundance far outnumbered decreasing trends, and only one parks in the northeast showed an overall decline in invasive plant abundance over time: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park (Woodstock, VT). Where detected, significant declines of invasive herbaceous or graminoid species tended to coincide with roughly equivalent increases in invasive shrub abundance. Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) emerged as the most aggressive invasive species and is a high management priority, particularly in northern parks where its range is still limited, possibly by climate. Invasive shrubs also increased over time in many parks across the region and should be a high management priority because of their impacts to natural forest processes, biodiversity, and because their population growth is likely sensitive to climatic change. Our findings suggest that invasive plants continue to be a challenge for many parks in the northeast and climate change may exacerbate those impacts. Reversing the widespread increase of invasive plants we have documented will require a long-term commitment from the NPS and broader understanding of how the abundance of invasive plants will respond to a changing climate.

The Catskill Science Collaborative: A unique partnership for research, resource management, and outreach.

Jamie Deppen, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Gary Lovett, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Presenter: Jamie Deppen, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

In the Catskill Mountains of New York State, a large number of federal, state and municipal agencies, universities, and research institutes are involved in research, monitoring, and management of natural resources. However, there are few opportunities for scientists and managers to exchange information across agencies and institutions, make data freely available for long-term use, or to communicate research findings to the public. Hosted by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, the Catskill Science Collaborative launched in 2018 to fill these gaps in coordination and communication. It facilitates and communicates environmental science in the Catskill Mountains through sharing research with the public, promoting science-informed resource management, and enabling data and idea sharing among scientists working in the Catskills. The CSC has worked with the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative to develop a Catskill Mountain regional data archive to provide a "one stop shop" for Catskills data and promote collaboration among scientists. Catskill Research Fellowships connect resource managers with researchers, provide positive research experiences for students, and help develop the pipeline of researchers working in the Catskills. The CSC also coordinates public events highlighting science in the region and assists with coordinating the Catskill Environmental Research and Monitoring Conference. This presentation will provide an overview of this new and unique program and will share lessons learned from its first year.

Silviculture with birds in mind: effects of disturbance-based forestry practices on habitat characteristics and carbon storage

Dominik Thom, University of Vermont

Presenter: William Keeton, University of Vermont

In many regions including the Northeast, foresters are testing approaches that emulate natural disturbance effects as a method for broadening the array of ecosystem services and biodiversity provided in managed forests. For example, a National Audubon program called "Silviculture with Birds in Mind" (SBM) was developed to diversify forested bird habitats; and while it was not proposed explicitly as disturbance-based forestry, it incorporates many of those concepts. As a relatively new set of practices, the SBM treatment outcomes on forest dynamics and how they compare to natural disturbances have not been explored. Moreover, researchers have not yet investigated the potential of SBM to produce co-benefits, such as enhanced carbon storage. Thus, the objectives of our study were to (i) analyze SBM treatments effects and compare them with natural disturbances, and (ii) assess the co-benefits of multiple habitat indicators and carbon storage within four years of silvicultural treatment.
We derived 14 indicators of structural and compositional diversity as well as carbon storage from 217 SBM inventory plots, and compared them with intermediate-severity wind disturbance using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). Subsequently, we applied multi-hierarchical Bayesian models to investigate SBM treatment effects on aboveground carbon storage, as well as on four key habitat indicators. We then employed a Bayesian framework to model the relationships between habitat indicators and carbon storage. SBM treatments enhanced the variation in individual structural elements compared to untreated control plots. While SBM treatments were closer in ordinal space to intermediate-severity wind disturbance than untreated control plots, emulation of wind disturbance effects was incomplete. Carbon storage was positively associated with the H'-Index of structural and compositional diversity.
The results showed that application of SBM promotes diversification of habitat conditions in northern hardwood-conifer forests and we expect those effects to amplify as stands develop post-treatment. However, we propose widening the portfolio of silvicultural approaches in the Northern Forest Region to more fully encapsulate the spectrum of natural disturbance dynamics, viewing this a key strategy both for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.

12:20 - 1:30
Lunch
1:30 - 2:50
Contributed Talks 2

parallel tracks of 20-minute presentations contributed by cooperators on various forest ecosystem research, monitoring and outreach activities

Time Climate and Forest Ecosystems
Moderator: TBD
Room: TBD
Forest and Alpine Ecology
Moderator: TBD
Room: TBD
Wildlife
Moderator: TBD
Room: TBD
Forested Waters
Moderator: TBD
Room: TBD
1:30 to 1:50

Moving the Needle: Assessing What Forest Managers Need to Increase Climate Adaptation in New England

Maria Janowiak, Amanda Mahaffey, Christopher Riely

+ ABSTRACT

Northern Hardwoods and Long-Term Change: Assessing Old-Growth and Managed Experimental Forest in the Adirondack Mountains of New York

Stacy McNulty

+ ABSTRACT

Elevational Distributions of Montane Spruce-Fir Forest Bird Communities from 2010-2019

Jason M. Hill

+ ABSTRACT

Acid rain update Adirondack Mountains (NY) 2019: deposition improvements revitalizing surface waters

Karen M. Roy

+ ABSTRACT

Climate Change and stream crossing practices on Vermont's timber harvests

Karl Honkonen, USDA Forest Service
David Wilcox, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

Presenter: David Wilcox, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

As our climate changes, so do challenges in timber harvesting operations. A stream that may have been a small trickle one day could be a raging torrent the next. If you're planning a timber harvest in Vermont and run into this situation, how do you get your timber from one side of the stand to the other? Stream crossings are the main source of sediment associated with logging operations. Many stream crossing structures are undersized to handle increasingly larger and more frequent flood events. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (VT FP&R) received a grant from the US Forest Service to improve stream crossing practices on timber harvesting operations to reduce nonpoint source pollution. This project provided technical assistance to loggers participating in the Portable Skidder Bridge Rental Program to ensure that bridges were installed, used and removed correctly, and that Acceptable Management Practice (AMP) compliance was attained, ensuring a higher level of protection for water resources.

Moving the Needle: Assessing What Forest Managers Need to Increase Climate Adaptation in New England

Amanda Mahaffey, Forest Stewards Guild
Christopher Riely Riely, Sweet Birch Consulting, LLC

Presenter: Maria Janowiak, Amanda Mahaffey, Christopher Riely, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service

Forestry and natural resource professionals are increasingly looking for information on the anticipated effects of climate change on ecosystems, as well as potential management options for responding to these changes. At the same time, the inability to know exactly what will happen in the future can create significant barriers for incorporating new information into management planning and project implementation. The field of climate change adaptation has been growing rapidly in the past decade, with multiple organizations providing scientific and technical resources to help advance climate-informed practices across the northeastern United States and beyond.

We conducted a needs assessment to better understand the status of climate change adaptation among forest and land managers in New England in order to characterize existing barriers to implementing climate-informed practices and identify actions that would help overcome the biggest challenges. The needs assessment consisted of an online questionnaire and four in-person listening sessions that engaged dozens of practitioners from across New England. There was widespread agreement among the participants that the climate was changing and that the effects were observable through a variety of changes occurring in forests, including warmer temperatures, more extreme events, and increases in forest pests, diseases, and invasives species. Participants reported that more information was needed related to climate change and its interactions with other ecosystem components, particularly in relation to tree species dynamics, wildlife, altered hydrologic cycles, invasive plants and pests, and human social and economic factors.

Participants pointed to a number of barriers to climate change adaptation, the greatest of which was the perception of greater uncertainty of future conditions as a result of a changing climate and its effects on ecosystems. The challenges that were identified by New England practitioners as part of this assessment are consistent with many surveys that have been conducted regionally and nationally among forest managers and natural resource professionals. A primary purpose of the needs assessment was to identify actions that would help overcome these barriers, and we identified five key themes:
o Manage in the face of uncertainty.
o Expand information resources to inform decisions.
o Prioritize risks and management actions.
o Address barriers to sustainable forest management.
o Learn from each other through communities of practice.

The needs assessment process convened a large number of forest managers who are actively interested in advancing climate change adaptation in their work. By providing a venue for managers to express a desire for action, we have demonstrated that there is a high degree of interest in the topic and that a forest climate adaptation community of practice is beginning to coalesce in the region.

Northern Hardwoods and Long-Term Change: Assessing Old-Growth and Managed Experimental Forest in the Adirondack Mountains of New York

Stacy McNulty, SUNY ESF
Ravyn Neville, SUNY ESF
Gregory McGee, SUNY ESF
Rene' Germain, SUNY ESF

Presenter: Stacy McNulty, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Late-successional forests possess unique biological assemblages due to structural features such as large trees, multi-layered canopies, roost and den sites and wildlife foods. The Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) - Yellow Birch (Betula allegheniensis) - American beech (Fagus grandifolia) northern hardwood forest type in northeastern North America provides diverse and complex habitats for vascular plants, animals and other species. However, most northern hardwood forests have been compromised by the invasive scale/fungal complex Beech Bark Disease (BBD) which targets beech. Infected trees produce prolific root sprouts which form dense understories of shade-tolerant saplings at the expense of desirable herbs, shrubs and tree seedlings. BBD killed the majority of mature, nut-producing beech decades ago, but many trees are again reaching maturity. The dramatic changes caused by BBD are of concern for long-term forest resilience, biodiversity, habitat quality, and productivity in the face of climate change.

SUNY ESF's 6,000 ha Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF) is a research and monitoring site centrally located in the 2.4 million ha Adirondack Park; HWF contains over 400 ha of >300-year-old forest. In mature stands on HWF, BBD severity has a strong influence on probability of beech survival, and infected trees can survive for over 25 years, creating both opportunities and challenges. In one second-growth forest with BBD, an experiment provides information on pre- and post-harvest vascular plant, epiphyte, bat, small mammal, and bird responses to forest management. The treatment is designed to retain critical wildlife trees and remove diseased beech and provide opportunities to assess long-term changes to this forest type.

Given millions of hectares of BBD-invaded forests in the region, combined with threats such as climate change, effective understanding of and management to retain habitat features for native communities is critical. Adirondack Park is the largest contiguous wild landscape in the coterminous United States and part of the UNESCO Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere; as such, it provides an exemplary place to investigate long-term changes to forest resilience, structure and composition, species assemblage and dynamics in old growth and managed forest. We present an eighty-year record of forest dynamics in this northern hardwood system.

Elevational Distributions of Montane Spruce-Fir Forest Bird Communities from 2010-2019

Jason Hill, Vermont Center for Ecostudies

Presenter: Jason M. Hill, Vermont Center for Ecostudies

There is strong evidence that climate change is occurring more rapidly at higher elevations, and climate change is projected to drive substantial changes in the extent of high-elevation spruce-fir forests in the northeastern U.S. over the next few hundred years. For species who exclusively exhibit this shrinking forest biome, we can reasonable expect more severe consequences than species whose core populations exist at lower elevations and across a wider range of forest types. For the conservation and management of species occupying spruce-fir forests, it is imperative that we formally quantify elevational shifts in their distributions and understand their elevational tolerance. Notably, Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus), Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), and Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) occur exclusively in the spruce-fir zone in the northeastern U.S., and 95% of the U.S. Bicknell's Thrush population in the US is restricted to elevations above 805 m. Here we utilize the Mountain Birdwatch dataset, where citizen scientists annually conduct repeated 5-minute point counts at >500 high-elevation sampling locations on hiking trails across northern New England and New York. Using a hierarchical Bayesian framework, we examined how the elevational distributions of 10 breeding bird species have changed between 2010 and 2019.

Acid rain update Adirondack Mountains (NY) 2019: deposition improvements revitalizing surface waters

Karen Roy, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Air Resources

Presenter: Karen M. Roy, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Air Resources

Four short years since the Fall 2015 International Conference on Acid Rain hosted by the US have produced more far reaching events and results. The transfer and evolution of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program to its new quarters in Wisconsin in 2018 and the continuing (three decades) collaboration among the EPA led Long Term Monitoring Program (LTM) network across four ecoregions and several states in the Northeast US sets the stage for my update on 52 Adirondack LTM lake sites. Results of experimental brook trout stocking at Brook Trout Lake (western Adirondacks) in 2005 and the unexpected August 2019 appearance of a naturally spawning population of this species at Lake Colden (eastern High Peaks region) support deposition and water chemistry improvements.
1:50 to 2:10

Growth of Northeastern Tree Seedlings in Response to Future Precipitation Scenarios

Peter Clark

+ ABSTRACT

Trends and environmental drivers of tree growth for seven major species in Vermont: future implications in the context of climate change

Rebecca Stern

+ ABSTRACT

Assessment of long-term freshwater mussel population trends in the lower Poultney and Lamoille Rivers.

Paul Marangelo

+ ABSTRACT

Managing headwater streams for climate resilience: Monitoring the geomorphic impact of large instream wood structures at Burnt Mountain Natural Area

Megan Gordon

+ ABSTRACT

Comparison of the resistance of even-aged and uneven-aged stands to environmental stressors in temperate forests as measure by tree mortality

Rebeca Cordero Montoya, Institut des Sciences de la For?t Temp?r?e, Universit? du Qu?bec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.
Philippe Nolet, Institut des Sciences de la For?t Temp?r?e, Universit? du Qu?bec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.
Christian Messier, Institut des Sciences de la For?t Temp?r?e, Universit? du Qu?bec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.
Anthony D'Amato, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 204E Aiken Center Burlington, VT 05405, USA

Presenter: Rebeca Cordero Montoya, Institut des Sciences de la Forêt Tempérée, Université du Québec en Outaouais, 58 rue Principale, Ripon (QC), J0V 1V0 Canada.

With global change, forest trees will be exposed to more and more stress in the coming decades. However, little is known about how forest management will interact with these stressors and how they will impact the ability of trees to resist disturbances. Resistance is the capacity of an ecosystem to absorb the effect of a disturbance and to remain largely intact; therefore, in our case, tree mortality is assumed to show a lack of resistance. The objective of this study was to compare stress-related tree mortality in the two most common silvicultural systems used in Northern hardwoods: even-aged and uneven-aged silviculture (hereafter EAS and UAS). Our hypothesis is that the forests managed under EAS will show a higher resistance to stressors as measured by density independent mortality than UAS.
Using a novel terrestrial mobile LiDAR technique, we mapped all dead and living trees (>10 cm DBH) within 40 sugar maple dominated stands: 16 even-aged, 16 uneven-aged and 8 old-growth stands. We separated the relative role of forest management on individual tree mortality from other factors such as size, species and neighbour competition by modelling the probability of mortality for each tree. We observed that density-dependent mortality was similar between EAS and UAS stands. Nevertheless, for large trees, density-independent mortality was greater in the UAS than EAS stands. This is assumed to be due to the fact that trees in UAS stands often go through several periods of growth suppression, increasing their vulnerability to various biotic and abiotic stressors compared to trees in EAS stands, which experience a more stable neighbourhood competition during their lifecycle. Our study suggests that the type of silvicultural system used can have important effects on the resistance of forests to global changes.

Growth of Northeastern Tree Seedlings in Response to Future Precipitation Scenarios

Anthony D'Amato, University of Vermont

Presenter: Peter Clark, University of Vermont

Seedling germination, growth, and establishment is a sensitive period and a critical bottleneck in the regeneration of forest trees, yet little is known about how this process will be impacted by a shifting climate. Despite projected future shifts in species ranges, the germination and regeneration response of locally adapted (current) tree species compared to those predicted to be better adapted to future conditions is poorly understood. Understanding forest regeneration response under novel future climate scenarios is important as it may lead to compositional or functional shifts in forests with implications on forest health, productivity, and biodiversity. To examine the regeneration of forest trees under shifting climate, we test the response of fourteen currently- and "future-adapted" species grown from seed and bare-root seedlings under precipitation manipulation located in recently harvested forest gaps. Tree species were selected across a suite of functional traits from species currently common in northeastern US forests as well as from species projected to be better adapted to future climates. Two seedbed treatments (scarified and undisturbed) and four precipitation scenarios (projected shifts in rainfall frequency and magnitude) were used to examine species response in establishment, phenology, allocation, and water use efficiency. Results indicate a strong germination response to seedbed treatment with a mean increase of 128% (?58) in scarified treatments. Seedlings responded most positively to rainfall frequency while rainfall magnitude had less effect. Precipitation treatment most positively influenced growth and establishment of larger seeded species such as Pinus strobus, Fagus grandifolia, Castenea dentata, and Quercus rubra but survival was moderated by an interaction between precipitation and soil treatment. Species life stage and functional traits are most important for seedling growth and survival to treatments, which will have consequences for managing for future adaptability in stand composition (assisted migration) and emphasizes the importance of species functional traits for decision making. The implications of this research may refine future species distribution models as well as provide tangible information for managers of northern forests seeking to maintain ecosystem function during a time of uncertain future global conditions.

Trends and environmental drivers of tree growth for seven major species in Vermont: future implications in the context of climate change

Paul Schaberg, USDA Forest Service
Shelly Rayback, Department of Geography, University of Vermont
Chris Hansen, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont
Paula Murakami, USDA Forest Service
Gary Hawley, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Presenter: Rebecca Stern, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

As climate change progresses, tree species and forest types in the Northeast are expected to shift in response to changing temperature and hydrologic regimes. However, an accurate understanding of the future health and productivity of regional forests is likely dependent on information regarding how species have responded to past changes in factors such as climate and pollution inputs.
Using standard dendrochronological techniques, we quantified changes in annual xylem increment growth of dominant and codominant hardwood (sugar maple, yellow birch, American beech, red maple, and red oak) and conifer (Eastern hemlock and Eastern white pine) trees at multiple sites across different latitudes and elevations throughout VT. Red oak, Eastern hemlock, and Eastern white pine all exhibited sustained increases in growth over the past 70 years, while the remaining species showed evidence of plateaued growth during the past 40 years.
We also related relative growth trends to local- and elevation-adjusted climate data (e.g., temperature and moisture) and pollution inputs of sulfur and nitrogen to assess their influence on species-specific productivity. Although many associations with environmental parameters were species-dependent, all seven species showed positive associations between growth and summer moisture and negative associations with summer temperature. The classic northern hardwood species, sugar maple, American beech, and yellow birch, all showed positive correlations with moisture at the beginning of winter and negative correlations with warmer winter temperatures. Both eastern white pine and eastern hemlock showed positive associations between growth and spring temperatures. Somewhat surprisingly, all species except American beech exhibited negative associations with pollutant deposition. We will describe how these findings compare to species ecological niches and may relate to projected changes in suitable habitat with climate change.

Assessment of long-term freshwater mussel population trends in the lower Poultney and Lamoille Rivers.

Paul Marangelo, The Nature Conservancy - Vermont Chapter
Michael Lew-Smith, Arrowood Environmental

Presenter: Paul Marangelo, The Nature Conservancy - Vermont Chapter

Freshwater mussels are widely acknowledged as the most endangered group of animals on Earth. In Vermont, 10 of 18 (55%) are listed by the state as threatened or endangered. While it is generally assumed that Vermont's mussel fauna has been declining over the past few decades, there is little data that substantiates population trajectories. The lower Poultney River has long been acknowledged as having perhaps the most species-rich mussel community in New England, with historical records of 13 species. We will present long-term quantitative mussel monitoring data of two mussel beds on the lower Poultney River from what is likely the longest ongoing freshwater mussel population monitoring effort in New England. Mean overall densities of freshwater mussels have declined up to 74% between 1998 and 2018 in the Poultney River. Population trends of individual listed species vary, from apparent local extirpation of the black sandshell (Ligumia recta) to apparent stability of the pink heelsplitter (Potamilus alatus). We will glean additional population trend insights by comparing results from extensive qualitative mussel surveys from 1990/91 with qualitative survey data collected in 2019. In addition, we will present 2019 survey data from a 5 mile stretch of the Lamoille River that revisits sites from a 2002 survey. This reach hosts the only occurrence of the elktoe (Alasmidonta marginata) in Vermont and is otherwise known from only a small number of other drainages east of the Great Lakes/Mississippi River basins. Finally, we hypothesize from observations of long-term geomorphic changes at specific mussel beds in the lower Poultney River that site-scale geomorphic shifts and coarse geomorphic river channel alterations that stem from an extreme avulsion/deposition event in 1783 are interacting with more commonly suspected mussel stressors to exacerbate population declines.

Managing headwater streams for climate resilience: Monitoring the geomorphic impact of large instream wood structures at Burnt Mountain Natural Area

Megan Gordon, The Nature Conservancy
Shayne Jaquith, The Nature Conservancy
Gus Goodwin, The Nature Conservancy

Presenter: Megan Gordon, The Nature Conservancy

Historically, humans have straightened rivers, cut forests, and cleared wood and debris from our waterways, depriving rivers of their natural tendency to meander and add wood to the system. However, the reality is that a messy river is a healthy river. The absence of large wood in Vermont's headwater streams limits their ability to provide ecosystem services, such as support diverse habitats, slow floodwaters, and retain sediment and nutrients, that become increasingly important as the climate changes. The Nature Conservancy's recent acquisition of the Burnt Mountain Natural Area in northern Vermont provides an opportunity to restore 3.5 miles of the upper Calavale Brook, a coldwater tributary to the North Branch of the Lamoille River, using large wood additions.

Initial assessments of the stream indicated that it is in fair geomorphic condition but that the strategic addition of large wood could restore the stream to excellent condition and improve instream habitat, river-floodplain connectivity, and sediment and nutrient retention. In 2017, TNC collaborated with Vermont Fish and Wildlife to install over 50 instream wood structures on a 2-mile stretch of the brook. The impacts of large wood additions on brook trout populations has been documented in Vermont, therefore our monitoring focuses on wood structure integrity and the geomorphic response of the stream. In this session, I will share our sampling and monitoring design, as well as preliminary results and reflections on two years of data collection and observations, justifying that wood is good.
2:10 to 2:30

Every Picture Tells a Story aka Forest Photography Designed to Document, Interpret and Monitor Climate Change-Forest Change

Roger L. Merchant

+ ABSTRACT

Monitoring plant populations in the Adirondack Alpine

Tim Howard

+ ABSTRACT

American marten density and habitat associations in New Hampshire

Donovan Drummey

+ ABSTRACT

Monitoring Vermont reference streams to understand climate change impacts

Aaron Moore

+ ABSTRACT

Silviculture with birds in mind: effects of disturbance-based forestry practices on habitat characteristics and carbon storage

Dominik Thom, University of Vermont

Presenter: William Keeton, University of Vermont

In many regions including the Northeast, foresters are testing approaches that emulate natural disturbance effects as a method for broadening the array of ecosystem services and biodiversity provided in managed forests. For example, a National Audubon program called "Silviculture with Birds in Mind" (SBM) was developed to diversify forested bird habitats; and while it was not proposed explicitly as disturbance-based forestry, it incorporates many of those concepts. As a relatively new set of practices, the SBM treatment outcomes on forest dynamics and how they compare to natural disturbances have not been explored. Moreover, researchers have not yet investigated the potential of SBM to produce co-benefits, such as enhanced carbon storage. Thus, the objectives of our study were to (i) analyze SBM treatments effects and compare them with natural disturbances, and (ii) assess the co-benefits of multiple habitat indicators and carbon storage within four years of silvicultural treatment.
We derived 14 indicators of structural and compositional diversity as well as carbon storage from 217 SBM inventory plots, and compared them with intermediate-severity wind disturbance using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). Subsequently, we applied multi-hierarchical Bayesian models to investigate SBM treatment effects on aboveground carbon storage, as well as on four key habitat indicators. We then employed a Bayesian framework to model the relationships between habitat indicators and carbon storage. SBM treatments enhanced the variation in individual structural elements compared to untreated control plots. While SBM treatments were closer in ordinal space to intermediate-severity wind disturbance than untreated control plots, emulation of wind disturbance effects was incomplete. Carbon storage was positively associated with the H'-Index of structural and compositional diversity.
The results showed that application of SBM promotes diversification of habitat conditions in northern hardwood-conifer forests and we expect those effects to amplify as stands develop post-treatment. However, we propose widening the portfolio of silvicultural approaches in the Northern Forest Region to more fully encapsulate the spectrum of natural disturbance dynamics, viewing this a key strategy both for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.

Every Picture Tells a Story aka Forest Photography Designed to Document, Interpret and Monitor Climate Change-Forest Change

Roger Merchant, University of Maine

Presenter: Roger L. Merchant, Associate Extension Professor Emeritus, UMaine Cooperative Extension, Forestry-Nature Tourism-Community Development, 1980-2013

How might we visually monitor forests and landscapes to document and interpret forest changes from climate change in New England? Every Picture Tells a Story illustrates methods and perspectives from forest photography designed to capture essential characteristics of trees, forest stands and landscapes, as well as changes in their character over time, offering light-weight possibilities for visually monitoring long-term forest change.

Two narrow windows of dynamic forest change brighten our windows annually; the intense coloration of autumn and subtle pastels before bud break. Gifford Pinchot planted a European beech on his estate remarking, "too bad I won't live long enough see this to maturity." His magnificent beech now bears witness to decades of cultural and environmental change. Annual changes to this tree seem barely notable, save for photos displayed in a "now and then window".

Climate induced forest change is upon us, the trees and the forest. USDA Tree Atlas research graphically reveals cold adapted species migrating northwards as things heat southwards. Measuring and monitoring forest change helps our social and environmental understanding, but it's complicated by this eco-relocation that will likely occur in landscapes over the next 100, 200, 400 years. How might we capture data and pictures that tell this evolving story over a longer span of time, over lifetimes?

Every Picture Tells a Story explores "forest photography by design" which minimizes visual chaos in forest scenes, helping clarify forest subject matter for documentation, interpretation and monitoring purposes. We'll examine interior scenes of forest stands, as well as landscape level details that inform these purposes. As a forester and photographer, I began documenting forest changes in 1980. Recently I opened up a 73-year monitoring window on forest change in the 1943-2016 Forest Project. These and other examples inform how we might visually capture climate-forest change.

Tracking climate-forest change through research and measurement is an important, ongoing conversation. I would add and argue that in tandem with this, we need a base of visual data that photographically captures forest change at stand and landscape levels. Each mode is distinct, but when integrated and presented in tandem, they form a powerful whole data set, grounded in both the research and the visual landscape, telling and showing our story under the thumb of human induced climate change.

Monitoring long-term forest change is a human act requiring much patience, if not faith given current events concerning climate change-forest change. Every Picture Tells a Story illustrates photographic perspectives and methods that can capture the essential character of forests and forest landscapes. Visual tools and photographic methods that clarify the character of forests and landscapes today, can establish an important baseline for monitoring climate change - forest change.

Monitoring plant populations in the Adirondack Alpine

Tim Howard, New York Natural Heritage Program
Kayla White, Adirondack Mountain Club
Julia Goren, Adirondack Council

Presenter: Tim Howard, New York Natural Heritage Program

Our populations of alpine plants in the Adirondack Mountains seem especially sensitive to change because of the small total area of alpine zone both on each Adirondack alpine summit and altogether. Our goal of this project is to monitor plant populations in the alpine zone through repeated, stratified random sampling. We report on findings from our first three sampling bouts separated by about six years: 2006-2007, 2013, and 2018-2019. In 2006-07, we sampled 376 plots; in 2013, we sampled 371 plots; and in 2018-2019 we sampled 379 plots. Each sampling effort was conducted on the 17 summits with the significant alpine vegetation. Each plot was placed using a spatially-balanced randomization procedure in GIS, which field crews located these points using GPS. Within each 5 m X 5 m plot, we counted the number of stems or plants. For species where individuals were hard to count we estimated aerial coverage. We used generalized linear mixed models to examine the effect of sample bout as an ordered factor while accounting for differences among summits and the effect of terrain differences such as solar radiation, slope, surface curvature, flow accumulation, and flow drop. Models were fitted using a zero-inflated negative binomial distribution. Of the nine species found in at least 4% of the plots, five had a significant positive response over the three time periods, one had a negative response, and three had no significant change in count. We will discuss these patterns in vegetative response as they relate to our predictions about vegetation change in the alpine zone.

American marten density and habitat associations in New Hampshire

Donovan Drummey, Department of Environmental Conservation, UMass Amherst

Presenter: Donovan Drummey, Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The historic range of the American marten included much of the northeastern United States, but due to extensive trapping and deforestation, populations have declined or disappeared in several states. Through a combination of natural dispersal from remnant populations and reintroduction efforts, marten have since recolonized parts of their historic range, including the state of New Hampshire. The apparent recovery in New Hampshire can be attributed, at least in part, to the closure of marten trapping and reforestation following field abandonment. Recent signs of recovery in New Hampshire and neighboring states has led to delisting, and the focus now is on population monitoring in order to effectively and sustainably manage the species.
This study seeks to address this need to develop state-wide population estimates of American marten in New Hampshire, and specifically to generate information on habitat requirements and therefore how habitat influences how population density varies in space. We deployed clusters of camera traps across a large part of the NH marten range using a unique camera station design that allows for individual recognition based on their unique throat patches. The cluster design resulted in individual detections at multiple camera stations with provides information about individual movement patterns. We analyzed this spatial encounter history data using Spatial Capture-Recapture methods to estimate density and space use, and investigates how these aspects of marten spatial ecology are influenced by biotic and abiotic factors.

Monitoring Vermont reference streams to understand climate change impacts

Aaron Moore, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Jen Stamp, Tetra Tech, Inc.

Presenter: Aaron Moore, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Climate change is expected to lead to dramatic changes in stream habitat, including higher water temperatures and increases in the frequency and magnitude of extreme flow events. In turn, changes in temperature and flow can have major impacts on biological communities. For over a decade, Vermont biologists have been monitoring macroinvertebrate communities, water temperature, and stream flow throughout a network of reference streams, in addition to measures of water quality and habitat. While long-term data from this effort will be essential for more fully understanding climate change impacts, early results have already helped show how communities may be affected. Devastating floods from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 showed precipitous declines in macroinvertebrate densities, despite resiliency in taxa richness. Twenty years of paired biological and hydrological data at Ranch Brook in Stowe, VT show predictable community shifts and lower assessments of biological condition when high flow events occurred with more frequency. A major landslide recently occurred at a stream near Ranch Brook, wiping out localized macroinvertebrate communities and dramatically altering downstream habitat. Monitoring recovery at this site will help us understand the potential effects of these types of precipitation driven events. A seasonal monitoring study was carried out at reference streams in 2019, which could shed light on how climate-driven temperature changes may affect macroinvertebrates during the State's traditional September-October sampling period. These types of studies area necessary for understanding the implications climate change may have on the on use of established biological criteria to assess stream health, and how to distinguish these effects from more localized stressors.
2:30 to 2:50

Assessing Ecosystem Controls on Soil Carbon Storage Across the Northeastern United States

Adam Noel

+ ABSTRACT

Forest structure could mitigate negative impacts of climate change on functional diversity in northeastern North America

Dominik Thom

+ ABSTRACT

Pulsed resources cause dynamic range changes in the North American Red Squirrel

Michael T. Hallworth

+ ABSTRACT

Site Preparation and Direct Seeding Trials for Riparian Forest Restoration

Annalise Carington

+ ABSTRACT

Assessing Ecosystem Controls on Soil Carbon Storage Across the Northeastern United States

Adam Noel, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Presenter: Adam Noel, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Effects of climate change can be seen globally, and mitigation plans to rising atmospheric CO2 levels are a top concern among academics and the public alike. Of the major carbon reservoirs, soil pools represent the largest and most stable that may be influenced by management decisions. The study of soil carbon sequestration must take into account many interactions among variables and thus, I've drawn on the state factor framework from ecosystem ecology to integrate diversity with other factors on a landscape scale (climate, topography, parent material). Looking beyond species richness effects, tree species functional traits have been shown to alter aboveground productivity and may also have impacts on belowground carbon stocks. This study will show the current results of a Northeastern region study using FIA plots analyzing landscape variable effects on soil carbon stocks, and will be the first study to demonstrate results in a temperate forest setting.

Forest structure could mitigate negative impacts of climate change on functional diversity in northeastern North America

Dominik Thom, Institute of Silviculture, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna
Anthony Taylor, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Rupert Seidl, Institute of Silviculture, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna
Wilfried Thuiller, Universit? Grenoble Alpes, Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine
Jiejie Wang, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Natural Resources Canada
Marie Robideau, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont
William Keeton, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Presenter: Dominik Thom, Institute of Silviculture, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna

Evolution has equipped organisms with a diverse set of traits to cope with their environment, selecting for a diversity of functions that determine plants' life history strategies. The functional diversity (FD) of an ecosystem defines its range of possible responses to environmental change. Many are now recommending integration of FD concepts within forest management plans to build greater adaptive capacity to climate change. However, incomplete scientific understanding hinders the implementation of FD-based management approaches. Our study fills some of these knowledge gaps by (i) mapping the current distribution, (ii) analyzing the drivers, and (iii) testing the sensitivity of FD to increases in temperature and precipitation in northeastern North America.

We combined a literature and database review of 44 traits for 43 tree species with terrestrial inventory data of 48,426 plots spanning an environmental gradient from northern boreal to temperate biomes. We assessed the impact of 25 explanatory variables on FD and conducted a climate sensitivity analysis, employing an ensemble approach of combining multiple non-parametric models. Using functional Hill numbers, we tested the effect of rare vs. abundant species on FD.

Temperate forests and the boreal-temperate ecotone east and northeast of the Great Lakes were identified as FD hotspots. FD was most strongly associated with forest stand structure. FD responses differed for increases in temperature and precipitation. Temperature elevated FD in boreal, but lowered FD in temperate forests. Precipitation effects were less distinct, but negative to neutral throughout the region. Weighting species abundance differently changed the results only marginally.

Environmental filtering is only of secondary importance behind forest structure in explaining the FD distribution for tree species in northeastern North America. Forest management can increase FD by fostering structural complexity. These efforts can compensate negative impacts of climate change on temperate forests, and increase the diversity of functionally poor boreal ecosystems. Moreover, mixing species from functionally different groups may improve the adaptive capacity of forests to an uncertain future.

Pulsed resources cause dynamic range changes in the North American Red Squirrel

Michael Hallworth, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Massachussets Amherst
Alexej Siren, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Massachussets Amherst
William DeLuca, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Massachussets Amherst
Timothy Duclos, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Massachussets Amherst
Keith Nislow, United States Fish and Wildlife, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Massachussets Amherst
Toni Lyn Morelli, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Massachussets Amherst

Presenter: Michael T. Hallworth, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, University of Massachussets Amherst

Resource availability is a strong driver of animal distributions. In northern hardwood and boreal forests, tree mast events provide an important, large scale, resource pulse that drives population dynamics of the small mammal community. Population-level responses to increased resource availability following tree mast events have been well documented. However, the degree to which pulsed resources such as tree mast events influence species distributions and habitat quality remains unknown. Here, we test for density-dependent range expansion of free-ranging North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) in response to an episodic resource. We combined camera trap and systematic auditory surveys gathered along an elevation gradient throughout Northeastern United States between 2014-2019 to determine how tree masting events influence 1) the elevational distribution of red squirrels through time and 2) habitat quality along the elevation gradient. We found the elevational distribution of North American red squirrels is highly dependent on tree masting events where the maximum elevation occupied increases in response to tree mast. The elevation minima also decreases in response to tree mast but to a lesser extent. In none mast years, the elevational maxima and minima contract. In addition to elevation expansions, we found abundance varied considerably at low and high elevations in response to resource availability during and following mast years. Our results suggest that the elevational band consisting of the upper extent of northern hardwood forest, and the ecotone between northern hardwood and boreal forest is the highest quality habitat for the North American red squirrel in northeastern United States. Tree mast events provide a critical but episodic resource that leads to changes in the elevational distribution of the North American red squirrel in the northeastern United States. The dynamic distribution could have profound impacts on other animal populations. As a dominant pre-dispersal seed predator, the presence of red squirrels may have cascading effects on other members of the small mammal community. Furthermore, songbird populations within the region may be impacted as red squirrels are a primary nest predator. High-elevation, ground nesting songbirds such as the Bicknell's thrush (Catharus bicknelli), a species of high conservation concern may be particularly vulnerable.

Site Preparation and Direct Seeding Trials for Riparian Forest Restoration

Annalise Carington, USFWS; Intervale Center
Pete Emerson, VFWD

Presenter: Annalise Carington, USFWS; Intervale Center

The agricultural history of many riparian restoration sites in Vermont has posed many challenges for tree and shrub establishment. Old hay fields and pastures often mature into a dense, persistent mix of perennial grasses and herbaceous species that inhibit the natural succession of riparian forest species and create an environment inhospitable to planted trees and shrubs. In contrast to this, when annual cropland in riparian areas is taken out of production for restoration, we've seen the bare soil allow for impressive amounts of natural regeneration of riparian woody species.

This observation has led a team of Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, Connecticut River Conservancy, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists to experiment with different techniques for site preparation at riparian restoration sites. The goal is to control the existing vegetation to (a) expose enough bare soil to allow for successful natural regeneration of riparian woody species and/or (b) prepare a seedbed to allow for the direct seeding of riparian woody species.

Beginning in 2015, 48 plots were established at 2 sites on the Barton River at Willoughby Falls WMA in Orleans County, VT. The sites were abandoned hay field and pasture dominated by reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea). Four treatment types were chosen: control (mow only), plow/rototill only, herbicide followed by plow/rototill, and plow/rototill followed by herbicide. 2019 results show an increase in % cover of forbs, decrease in % cover of grasses, and an increase in total number of seedlings for the plow/rototill followed by herbicide treatment type. Monitoring of these sites is funded through at least 2021.

Encouraged with the results of this pilot project, USFWS and VFWD have partnered to expand and adapt the experiment to other regions of the state. In the summer of 2019, test plots were established at Laplatte Headwaters Town Forest in Hinesburg, Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, and Pine Island Community Farm in Colchester. In addition to the original combinations of plowing/rototill and herbicide, different organic site preparation techniques are being tested. We will also be testing different techniques for the direct seeding riparian woody species after site preparation, including hydroseeding and broadcasting. We see immense potential for this process to enhance riparian restoration efforts across the state.

Our presentation will review our work-to-date and preliminary results, outline our plans for next season, and discuss challenges and opportunities for this work into the future. I will be co-presenting with my VFWD colleague, Pete Emerson.

2:50 - 3:00
Coffee Break
3:00 - 4:30
Working Groups

Proposed and organized by cooperators, these working group sessions provide opportunities to focus on key issues and priorities of members of the Cooperative

Confirmed working sessions include:

Co-Designing Forestry Studies to Address Adaptation Science Needs

Open to All

The uncertainty around the impacts of climate change, invasive species, and extreme weather events poses a significant challenge to sustaining forest ecosystems in the northeast. Much of our current management is guided by the outcomes of decades of silviculture research, yet many of the conditions under which those results were generated are rapidly changing. General suggestions for how to approach forest adaptation for uncertain future conditions have been suggested, but few, robust field evaluations exist to inform widespread management applications. This working group session will facilitate discussion among forestry professionals and research scientists to identify what science is most needed to help inform forest adaptation strategies to address the impacts of climate change and invasive species, and garner input on how to best engage landowners when testing such approaches. The outcomes of this session will inform the design of a series of new silvicultural studies and develop manager-scientist partnerships to enhance the region’s capacity for implementing and sharing the outcomes of forest adaptation in practice.

Organizer: Tony D'Amato, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont


Data Rescue: Archiving 'At-Risk' Data from the Catskills to Katahdin

Open to All

FEMC has been working to compile an inventory of at-risk data and rescue high priority material. In this working session we will share insights gained in the rescuing process to inform a broader discussion around defining at-risk data and ways to collectively develop a data rescue framework. What data do you want to see rescued? How do we establish priority? What are the obstacles to rescuing and utilizing at-risk data? Together we will discuss these questions as well as brainstorm more efficient methods for connecting rescues with resources and explore avenues for addressing future data risk.

Organizer: Matthias Sirch, Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative

Room: Sugar Maple


Lye Brook Wilderness Area Subcommittee Working Group

Open to All

Anyone interested in ongoing or future monitoring and research at the Lye Brook Wilderness Area is encouraged to join, with the goal of making connections and coordinating across organizations and disciplines to support this work. Lye Brook is the only Class I Wilderness Area in Vermont, and includes a rich archive of existing data and long-term studies. This workgroup brings together key partners in an ongoing collaboration focused at this FEMC intensive research site. The Lye Brook Wilderness is in the southern Green Mountains of Vermont. It's named after the brook flowing through its western half. Most of it is above 2500 feet, on a high plateau with several ponds and bogs. Approximately 80% of the area is forested with northern hardwoods: birch, beech, and maple. Thickets of small spruce dot the area. Several species of neotropical birds, black bear, moose, deer, pine martin and bobcat inhabit these woods. There are many marshy areas off trail and the ecological balance is quite fragile.
Meeting Objectives:
o Provide brief updates on current and near future research and monitoring projects in the Lye Brook Wilderness Area, building on our existing list at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/cooperative/lye_brook_committee
o Identify additional research or project needs (to add to existing list)
o Prioritize and develop strategies to collaborate and accomplish projects and research
o Choose a date and location for a field trip in summer 2020, and Nov/Dec 2020 meeting

Organizer: Angie Quintana, Green Mountain & Finger Lakes National Forests


Managing Ash in the Context of EAB - a Regional Discussion

Open to All

The "little green bug," the emerald ash borer, is known as a harbinger of death and destruction to ash trees across the continent. Its presence instantly brings to mind the disheartening prospect of every ash tree in a stand, forest, or state disintegrating into a snag and disappearing from the forest ecosystem. All too often, even the mention of the bug leads managers to harvest every ash tree in reach during a timber harvest. But wait! There are sound, science-based reasons to consider alternative treatments. Ash trees are irreplaceable to Native American cultures in our region. Ash trees - living, dead, or dying - also provide important habitat to wildlife in forest ecosystems. Recent research shows that not all ash trees will die and that cutting them all eliminates our chances of retaining their important ecological and social values.
A series of forums in Vermont this year helped forest managers explore alternative management approaches for ash in the context of EAB. What is your state doing to help foresters manage ash in spite of the little green bug? In this facilitated working session, participants will share ideas, observations, and strategies for conducting thoughtful silviculture and share learning about ash management across the Northeast region.

Organizer: Amanda Mahaffey, Forest Stewards Guild


Reducing the risks of invasive forest pests and climate change using knowledge co-production

Open to All

Building off a recently formed working group focused on understanding of risks associated with pest outbreaks in forests, this working session will refine a structured decision-making framework, with input from new and existing working group members. The goal is to bring the power of ecological forecasts and knowledge coproduction (resource managers and scientists working together) to develop a scalable decision-support system. We are working together to identify information needs for pest species (especially Hemlock Woolly Adelgid). We will further develop our understanding of the role of risk in forest pest management. This working session is a collaboration among the National Phenology Network, USGS, USFS, and the Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Management network.

Organizer: Toni Lyn Morelli, U.S. Geological Survey


Why oak? Increasing Resiliency in Southern New England's Oak Forests

Open to All

Oak trees are an iconic part of southern New England's forests. Today, they are under pressure from a complex range of stresses including gypsy moth, deer browse, and invasives. Forest managers are struggling to secure regeneration and are further challenged with how to communicate with landowners about options for managing oak woodlands in a changing climate. What makes a resilient forest? What tools can we use to assess how "healthy" a forest is? What are practical management strategies to help increase resiliency in oak forests? What tools can we use to monitor our efforts and find out if we're making a difference? This facilitated working session will explore these and other questions. All participants who work in or care for oak forests are invited to take part.
This discussion is related to a USDA Forest Service-funded project in its early stages with partners in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Outputs from the session will help inform our work with professionals and landowners to increase resiliency in southern New England's oak forests.

Organizer: Amanda Mahaffey, Forest Stewards Guild


4:00 - 5:30
Poster Session and Social Hour

Enjoy conversation and posters at the end of the day.

Accepted Posters:

2019 Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative Partner Projects
Presenter: Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative, University of Vermont (UVM), Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) and Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC)

2019 Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative Regional Projects
Presenter: Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative, University of Vermont (UVM), Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) and Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC)

Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change: Initial Structural Outcomes in the Northern Hardwood Forest
Presenter: Jessica Wikle, University of Vermont, Rubenstein School for Environment and Natural Resources

Assessing the statewide condition of macroinvertebrate and fish communities in Vermont streams
Presenter: Aaron Moore, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Comparison of climatic conditions experienced by northern and southern red spruce ecotypes
Presenter: John R Butnor, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

Does soil moisture and soil texture predict the fine-scale community organization of sugar maple and beech in a 1ha old growth forest in Middlebury, Vermont?
Presenter: Morgan Forest Perlman, Middlebury College

Forest Land Use Activities and Fragmentation as a Threat to Northeastern Forest Cover and Water Quality
Presenter: Elizabeth Doran, UVM VT EPSCoR BREE Project

Geospatial analysis of tree species at risk from nitrogen deposition in the northeastern U.S.
Presenter: Linda Pardo, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station

Lake Champlain wetland vegetation monitoring
Presenter: Jo Robertson, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department & Eco AmeriCorps.

Monitoring spring canopy green up in Pinkham Notch, NH using digital cameras
Presenter: Patrick Scordato, Appalachian Mountain Club

Monitoring the Health of Vermont’s Forests: Data from 2019 and Changes in Tree Health
Presenter: Julia Pupko, Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative

New low-cost stream gauging stations on headwater streams of the White Mountain National Forest
Presenter: Austin Hart, White Mountain National Forest

Sliding down Cotton Brook, Waterbury, VT
Presenter: Marjorie Gale, Vermont Geological Survey, DEC

Translating Science into Practice and Practice into Science - Northeast RISCC Management Network
Presenter: Audrey Barker Plotkin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA

Travels of a Rusty Blackbird
Presenter: Carol Foss, NH Audubon

Tree-SMART Trade: Policy Recommendations to Reduce the Importation of Forest Pests
Presenter: Gary Lovett , Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Understanding forest landowner management and decision making in the context of water quality, land use and climate change in the Lake Champlain Basin
Presenter: Sarah Haedrich, Meagan Tan, Harrison Rohrer, Middlebury College Environmental Studies

Updated Projections of Species Response to Climate Change
Presenter: Maria Janowiak, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science & US Forest Service

What is the DEN? A new online database of tree-ring and ecological information for scientists and managers.
Presenter: Paul Schaberg, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station