U.S. Forest Service planning teams must complete rapid assessments of ecosystem conditions on national forests and the effects on those ecosystems (such as this one at Cedar Lake) from stressors, such as climate change. U.S. Forest Service photo
This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
From South Carolina’s coastal plain to the North Carolina mountains to the tropics of Puerto Rico to the southern Sierra Nevada region of California, climate change is on the minds of forest planners.
That’s because U.S. Forest Service planning teams in these areas are among the first to revise their land and resource management plans under the 2012 Planning Rule. To help them in their planning, land managers from the Francis Marion, Nantahala, Pisgah, El Yunque, Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra national forests will turn to a web-based tool known as the Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options.
Forest Plans help guide the management of national forests and are typically revised every 10 to 15 years. The plans help ensure that national forests and grasslands continue to meet the requirements of the National Forest Management Act—for clean air and water, timber and other forest products, wildlife habitat, recreation and more. Read more »
Dave and Bethany trying to absorb the magnitude of a giant Sequoia.
For me, Take your Daughters and Sons to Work Day has a different meaning as an employee of the U.S. Forest Service. With a passion for our nation’s natural resources and the great outdoors, I want Bethany Atkins, my daughter, to have the opportunity to explore America’s treasured public lands more often than visiting me at work one day a year. So we embarked on a summer family journey to explore some nearby national forests and parks. I am proud to share part of her journal from this experience and I encourage others to find a national forest or grassland near you to explore.
The grey winters of Portland, Ore., often prompt me to look simultaneously forward and backward. I look forward to what adventures I might plan for the lengthy days of the summer. I will always look back on recent trip to visit the oldest, the biggest and the tallest trees on earth; a trip my pun-friendly family quickly dubbed “The Tree-fecta.” Read more »
Bob Goodwin, a former California Highway Patrol officer, now works for the U.S. Forest Service as a Tribal relations advisor. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
During his 21 years as a California Highway Patrol officer, Bob Goodwin eased tensions during traffic accidents, issued verbal warnings and made arrests—all in a calm and cool way.
Now, as Tribal relations advisor for the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, Goodwin is again relying on those valuable people and negotiating skills to build relations between Tribal entities and the federal government. Goodwin’s easy-going demeanor, “can do” attitude, and ability to resolve challenging issues make him perfect for the job. Read more »
The Mary Road Bike Path gains nearly 1,000 feet of breathtaking elevation over 5.3 miles of Inyo National Forest land. US Forest Service photo.
A ceremony Oct. 20 in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., marked the completion of a series of important federal, state, and locally funded trail projects, the official grand opening of the Mammoth Lakes Trail System, and the celebration of the agency partnerships that supported it. The project helped to create a network of trails from within the town of Mammoth Lakes going out to the surrounding public lands.
Several noteworthy long-term trails projects were honored including the completion of the Lakes Basin Path, and the wayfinding and interpretive signage that was installed along paths and trails in the area. Read more »
The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitors Center is a large public building that is used by more than 140,000 visitors a year. With steeply rising utility costs over the last decade limited funding for operational costs were suggesting shorter operating hours and reduced seasonal openings to save money. To avoid limiting public services, the Forest Service began to explore alternative solutions.
A new photovoltaic system for the Mono Basin Visitor Center on the Inyo National Forest will save taxpayers an estimated $20-25,000 in energy costs. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service photo
Situated in a climate where the sun shines an average of 289 days of the year, installation of a photovoltaic power system for the visitor center offered a logical opportunity to cut energy costs and reduce the agency’s carbon footprint. In 2010, Forest Service Recovery Act funding offered the opportunity for the investment for the energy and money saving technology. Read more »
The Inyo National Forest is home to many bristlecone pines, thought to be the oldest living organisms on Earth.
Bristlecone pines are a small group of trees that reach an age believed by many scientists to be far greater than that of any other living organism known to man — up to nearly 5,000 years. Read more »