FEMC has expanded the scope of our work through partnerships with other states in the region. FEMC has successfully partnered with agencies and researchers in New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine with the goal of being a catalyst for collaboration, communication and data sharing. The natural world is not restricted by borders or boundaries and neither should the monitoring and research studying these environmental issues. FEMC is continually looking to expand our reach, if you would like to set up a regionalization project in your area please contact us.
FEMC has a number of active regional and state-level projects, listed below in order of when they are expected to be completed.
Monitoring Northeastern Forest Indicators for Signs of Climate-Driven Change
This project uses key ecosystem “indicator” metrics to create an online tool that provides recommended methods and sources of data for tracking and monitoring how climate change is impacting forested ecosystems in the Northeast. Experts and stakeholders across the region contributed to selecting the indicator metrics to include in the tool. Users can explore where climate indicators are being monitored, where efforts are needed, and easily access replicable protocols that can be used to fill monitoring gaps across the region.
For more information on this project, visit the project page at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/cooperative/projects/climate_indicators
This project will take place in 2020 and 2021.
Monitoring and Communicating Changes in Forest Disturbance Regimes
The extent, severity, and frequency of disturbance regimes occurring in forested ecosystems in the Northeast can be explored using this tool. The tool provides users with information and datasets about where disturbance regime changes are being studied across the region. Several metrics are included as disturbance drivers: drought, extreme weather, pests and pathogens, and fire. Ecosystem responses to disturbance are also captured in stream macroinvertebrate, cold water fisheries, and invasive plants datasets.
For more information on this project, visit the project page at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/cooperative/projects/disturbance_regimes
This project will take place in 2020 and 2021.
Exploring the Connection Between Forest Cover and Water Quality in the Northeast
The connections between forest cover and water quality are complex and depend on the particular aspects of water quality being considered. FEMC staff worked with experts to determine key factors in understanding connections between forests and water. From this input, FEMC developed an inventory of key forest and water spatial datasets for the northeastern region to provide improved access to analytical information by integrating 30 datasets into a common spatial framework. The Forest Cover and Water Quality story map highlights some of these datsets by providing summaries in the trends of long-term datasets by watershed.
This work not only improves access to information and integrated data but also gives added capacity of professionals to communicate the importance of forest cover in supporting good water quality. Visit the project page to learn more about the project and access the report.
This project was completed in September 2020.
Carbon Accounting for New Hampshire's Pisgah State Park (NH)
The goal for this project is to provide information on the carbon storage and sequestration rates for unmanaged forest stands in Pisgah State Park. We compare these values to the carbon removals via harvesting and compute a carbon footprint of the harvested wood materials. Together, this information will provide and estimate of how much forestland in Pisgah can be harvested each year to ensure net carbon gain across the park.
The final project will provide a written report of methods and findings as well as an easy-to-understand data product to view the results, to be complete in summer 2021.
Forest Indicators Dashboard Pilots in New Hampshire and New York
We are working to apply the concept and design of the VT Forest Indicators Dashboard to the states of New York and New Hampshire. We will work with experts in each state to determine which datasets best capture the status, condition, and services of, as well as stresses to, forests. The result will be an easy to use and understand dashboard that provides a snapshot of how our forests are doing now and overtime.
Initial pilots of the dashboards will be completed for state review by winter 2020.
Expanding Forest Health Monitoring
FEMC is expanding the Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) program that was established in Vermont in 1991. The program monitors the condition of tree species in dedicated plots each year. Beginning in 2020, new plots were added in Massachusetts. In 2021, the program will further expand to include plots in all seven states of the FEMC region, adding plots in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, and Rhode Island. The new plots are distributed across each state and representative of statewide forest composition. The plots also overlap with existing tree monitoring networks to provide enhanced temporal resolution of state-conducted forest health programs.
FEMC field crews will evaluate these regional plots to measure tree demography, including saplings and seedlings, record browse, invasive species and damages, and assess crown health, among other metrics. Plots will be assessed on an annual basis to monitor for early warning signs of forest stress and changes in demography.
We thank all of our state partners from CT, MA, NH, NY, RI and the U.S. Forest Service for their participation in the preliminary conversations to develop a viable regional plot network.
Visit the project page at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/cooperative/projects/forest_health_monitoring to learn more about the expanded Forest Health Monitoring program.
FEMC has completed a range of state-specific and regional partnerships. Many of these have resulted in the development of customized data collections and data-driven online tools and are listed below alphabetically.
Assessing the risk of invasive plant introductions at trail heads in the Adirondack Park, NY
This project uses visitor origin data extracted from trail registers located at trailheads in the Adirondack Park to assess the risk of visitors unknowingly transporting invasive plant species that could become established in the park. For this project, we collaborated with Dr. Colin Beier of SUNY-ESF. This project was designed as a case study to explore the utility of using digitized trail registry data to answer ecological questions.
Visit the project page to learn more about the project and access the report.
This project was completed in December, 2019.
Catskill Science Collaborative Data Portal
Researchers in the Catskills region of New York identified a lack of collaboration among those working on forest ecosystems. The FEMC created the Catskills Science Collaborative (CSC) data access portal that links to the FEMC Data Archive, but allows for searching and browsing of projects limited to the geographic extents of the Catskills. FEMC staff worked with a variety of partners to aggregate key datasets on the portal for easier access and discovery.
This product was first launched in October, 2018.
The Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative Climate Connection is a resource for policy makers, researchers, students and natural resource professionals to quickly find the tools they need to explore climate change and how it will impact forests in the Northeast.
Comparison of Continuous Forest Inventory Monitoring Programs
FEMC is working with partners across the region to assemble and compare continuous forest inventory (CFI) monitoring and assessment programs. The goal is to identify commonalities and differences in the various datasets, document the ways in which they can be compared, and enable broad-scale analyses across states. FEMC will make available protocols, data samples, access instructions and data downloads when possible in an online data portal. With funding provided by the USDA AFRI program, we are collaborating with researchers from UVM and UMaine to combine these data in meaningful and statistically robust ways so that we can answer relevant and timely questions concerning the status of regeneration in the region.
The program comparison tool was released in June 2020. Work on further data integration is ongoing.
Data Rescue: Finding and Preserving Data at Risk
A wealth of monitoring, inventory, and research data exists that is currently inaccessible to the broader community, ranging from data sheets stored in file cabinets to electronic files on a person’s hard drive who doesn’t have the time or resources to archive those data. In these cases, data are at risk of being lost to natural disasters and retirements. FEMC alleviated some of this risk by engaging with natural resource agencies in the region to inventory data at risk of being lost. We rescued dozens of new long-term high-value monitoring and research datasets, uploading each to the FEMC archive to be preserved in perpetuity and available to the broader community. View the full list of at-risk data or submit your own at-risk project using the Data Rescue Inventory (https://www.uvm.edu/femc/data_rescue).
This effort was initiated in May, 2019, and the Data Rescue inventory is updated as we hear from you about more projects to include.
DEN: The DendroEcological Network
The study of tree rings (dendrochronology) provides a powerful tool to understand tree growth and the response of trees to a range of environmental influences. Although useful, collecting and analyzing tree rings can be time consuming and involve the use of highly specialized equipment. To increase the ease and cost-effectiveness of using tree ring information, we created the DendroEcological Network (DEN) to provide an online repository for dendroecological and associated forest ecology data and a cyberinfrastructure for the discovery, exploration, and sharing of those data. The DEN portal is publicly available and anyone with access to the internet can use it.
FEMC built the DEN infrastructure and is currently bringing in data from experts around the region to populate this resource. Data can be access at https:www.uvm.edufemcdendro and work is underway on a user-interface for data upload.
The DEN was first launched in October, 2018.
EMMA data archive and access
The Environmental Monitoring and Management Alliance (EMMA) is a regional network of land managers and researchers committed to developing standardized methodologies for environmentally relevant research and data collection in the Hudson Valley of New York. Bringing together 10 organizations, they have built up an initial data archive of climate and deer exclosure data, and made it available through the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative’s archive. Included are six datasets on deer exclosures, one of which has been in operation since 1992, and eight weather monitoring projects at different sites.
Find out more about this great effort and the data they are bringing together at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/emma.
FragNet: the Northeast Fragmentation Information Network
The Northeast Fragmentation Information Network (FragNet) is a clearinghouse containing a wealth of various resources about forest fragmentation - the breaking up of continuous forest cover. These resources have been collected from throughout the northeastern US to make it easier for policy makers, planners, advocates and researchers to access information on forest fragmentation. Using FragNet, you can explore resources such as journal articles, technical reports, brochures and legislation.
This tool was first released in October, 2018, and is updated with new resources annually.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid-induced Losses in Riparian Corridors in New York State
The FEMC collaborated with the New York Invasive Species Research Institute at Cornell University to identify and rank riparian corridors at potential risk of future hemlock losses due to hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). HWA is an invasive and highly destructive pest of hemlock trees that can result in eventual mortality. Through this project, the FEMC (1) quantified the risks to stream corridors of hemlock loss due to HWA, and (2) made this information easily accessible to the research and monitoring community.
This project was completed at the end of summer, 2018.
Holt Research Forest
The Holt Research Forest (HRF) is a field station located in southern mid-coastal Maine with a 36-year history of multidisciplinary ecological research. A land base of approximately 125 ha (300 acres) features a red oak-white pine forest ecosystem, an important and relatively understudied forest type in Maine. The vast majority of the property is forested uplands while 20 ha (50 acres) are wetlands of various types, primarily salt marsh. The property is bordered by the Back River, an estuarine tributary of the Kennebec River, on the east. Sewell Pond, the largest pond on Arrowsic Island, forms the western boundary. The northern and southern boundaries of the property are adjacent to largely forested conservation land held by The Nature Conservancy and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
This product was first launched in April, 2019.
Massachusetts disturbance data integration
The Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to improve access to and utility of their forest health mapping efforts over the past six decades. This included: Expansion of digital forest disturbance mapping by standardizing aerial survey data back to 1934; Standardization and aggregation of recent forest health data (1996-2015); Integration of resulting maps with other regional data sets; Examination of spatial and temporal trends in pest outbreaks to inform management in the future; A list of researchers conducting forest health studies in Massachusetts; and a list of available ancillary climate data for comparative analysis.
Data developed for this project is available at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/data/archive/project/northeastern_ads/dataset/historical-massachusetts-aerial-detection-disturbance-data.
Click here to access the FEMC report on this project.
This project was completed in January, 2017.
Massachusetts Historical Forest Health Records
Boxes of forest health records are often left in storage as forestry staff move to other organizations or retire after decades of data collection. The FEMC in coordination with Sean Fisher, the Archivist of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), has archived this historical material dating back to the 1930’s. FEMC used DCR pest distribution maps from the collection of archived documents to validate pest damage estimates of the Northeastern Forest Health Atlas (https://www.uvm.edu/femc/forest-health-atlas). The collection of Massachusetts' historical forest health reports are accessible as a part of FEMC's broader data rescue effort through the Data Rescue Inventory (https://www.uvm.edu/femc/data_rescue).
Click here to access the FEMC report on this project.
This project was completed in February, 2020
The Mountain Birdwatch Program utilizes citizen scientists to monitor montane birds throughout the Northeast. To make data submission clear, easy, and intuitive, FEMC partnered with Vermont Center for Ecostudies to create the Mountain Birdwatch Data Entry Portal (MBWEP). The newly created MBWEP allows citizen scientists to submit data from the comfort of their homes through a simple interface. Users are able to quickly access their routes for the season and submit data as they complete their routes.
Learn more about the portal at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/mbw.
NEFHA: Northeastern Forest Health Atlas
The Northeastern Forest Health Atlas (NEFHA) is a web portal for forest health data that provides information on short- and long-term changes in forest health and disturbance for researchers, managers, policy makers, and the public. The mapping platform brings together research and monitoring data on forest damage and disturbance in the Northeast. The user-interface allows for easy searching of biotic and abiotic damage agents, by state, or year, and can be viewed as a map of detections, or in a graph or table format.
This tool was first released in September, 2018.
Want to learn more about the Northeastern Forest Health Atlas? Click here to view a webinar from September 2018 on how NEFHA works.
New Hampshire Forest Clearing Inventory
In collaboration with the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, FEMC has inventoried the number, location, and timing of forest clearing in the state using available satellite imagery between 1995 and 2017. This assessment of forest clearings includes both traditional silvicultural clearcuts as well as land-use conversion (e.g., development, agriculture). The resulting interactive map (https://arcg.is/1085vu) and spatial data will inform future forest planning efforts in the state, and will be transferable to other partners in the region.
Click here to access the spatial data and project report.
This project was completed in July 2020.
New York disturbance data rescue
The Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative (FEMC) collaborated with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to improve access to and utility of their forest health mapping efforts over the past six decades. FEMC’s work included expanding digital holdings of historical forest disturbance mapping by digitizing 9 years of historical aerial survey data; Standardization and aggregation of recent forest health data (2002-2015); Integration of resulting maps with other regional data sets; and Examination of spatial and temporal trends in pest outbreaks to inform management in the future.
Data developed for this project is available at https://www.uvm.edu/femc/data/archive/project/nydec-aerial-survey.
Click here to access the FEMC report on this project.
This project was completed in October, 2016.
Northeast Forest Regeneration Data Network
The Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative created the Northeast Forest Regeneration Data Network for users to access and compare projects related to tree regeneration, including studies on browse impacts, seed production, and forest management.
Through the interactive website, projects can be filtered by selecting which metrics a user is most interested in (like seedling species data), along with other project parameters, like location, timeframe, and number of repeat inventories. Users can then browse and explore individual projects, access structured metadata, download methods, view or download data (when available) and view the relative suitability of each project for a range of analyses.
This tool was launched in July, 2020.
Quantifying the Economic Impacts of Invasive Forest Pests and Diseases in Urban Areas
FEMC staff made use of existing data collections in the Northeast and developed a synthesis of the possible economic impacts of invasive pests and pathogens (e.g., emerald ash borer) on urban forests. Urban forest inventories using the USDA Forest Service's i-Tree program infrastructure have been conducted in each state, and were used to give a snapshot of the potential losses due to invasive pests.
An online discovery map (https://arcg.is/18ebfX) was created allowing exploration of the data by location along with informational factsheets for municipalities which summarize the potential economic losses of host trees to four invasive pests and pathogens.
This work increases the availability of data and provides additional resources for managers and technical specialists who advocate for action to address these threats.Visit the project page to learn more about the project and access the report.
This project was completed in June, 2020.
Vermont Forest Indicators Dashboard
The Vermont Forest Indicators Dashboard is a data-driven, ecological monitoring tool that quantifies the condition of Vermont's forested ecosystems in simple terms that offers a more holistic view of the structure, function, and services the forests provide. Current conditions and long-term trends can be compared to threshold or baseline values to help inform management and decision making to sustain this critical resource. The dashboard currently summarizes information about 34 different long-term datasets, from timber production to crown condition to regeneration trends to forest bird diversity.
Each indicator is given:
- an annual score
- a comparison to long-term trends
- a chart with trend line
- a contributing weight towards the overall score of the category
Want to learn more about the Vermont Indicators Dashboard? Click here to view a webinar from August 2018 on how the Dashboard works.
This tool was released in August, 2018, and each indicator is examined annually for new datasets that are released
Vermont State Lands Research Atlas
The Vermont State Lands Research Atlas is a system for capturing and displaying the outputs of research conducted on state lands and was designed to make it easier for planners, land managers and researchers to access information related to scientific research in the state. Researchers interested in utilizing state lands must apply for permits, which require the eventual delivery of reports and products back to the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), but the ability to capture and archive the underlying data has been limited. FEMC worked with staff in the ANR to develop a system to track when new research permits are being issued, connect the investigators doing the research to the FEMC, and ensure that permit deliverables such as reports and datasets are made available through the FEMC Data Archive. ANR staff can assess compliance with this mandate, and the public can explore the research conducted on state lands through a searchable online map interface.