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2017

NEW PAPER: Unconventional gas development facilitates plant invasions
July 25, 2017
Vegetation removal and soil disturbance from natural resource development, combined with invasive plant propagule pressure, can increase vulnerability to plant invasions. Unconventional oil and gas development produces surface disturbance by way of well pad, road, and pipeline construction, and increased traffic.
NEW PAPER: Short-term Forecasting Tools for Agricultural Nutrient Management
May 9, 2017
The advent of real-time, short-term farm management tools is motivated by the need to protect water quality above and beyond the general guidance offered by existing nutrient management plans. Advances in high-performance computing and hydrologic or climate modeling have enabled rapid dissemination of real-time information that can assist landowners and conservation personnel with short-term management planning. This paper reviews short-term decision support tools for agriculture that are under various stages of development and implementation in the United States: (i) Wisconsin’s Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast (RRAF) System, (ii) New York’s Hydrologically Sensitive Area Prediction Tool, (iii) Virginia’s Saturated Area Forecast Model, (iv) Pennsylvania’s Fertilizer Forecaster, (v) Washington’s Application Risk Management (ARM) System, and (vi) Missouri’s Design Storm Notification System. Although these decision support tools differ in their underlying model structure, the resolution at which they are applied, and the hydroclimates to which they are relevant, all provide forecasts (range 24–120 h) of runoff risk or soil moisture saturation derived from National Weather Service Forecast models. Although this review highlights the need for further development of robust and well-supported short-term nutrient management tools, their potential for adoption and ultimate utility requires an understanding of the appropriate context of application, the strategic and operational needs of managers, access to weather forecasts, scales of application (e.g., regional vs. field level), data requirements, and outreach communication structure.
Our research makes the news: Shale gas threat to forests can be eased by consolidating infrastructure
April 19, 2017
By Jeff Mulhollem April 19, 2017 .. .. UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Fragmentation of ecologically important core forests within the northern Appalachians — driven by pipeline and access road construction — is the major threat posed by shale-gas development, according to researchers, who recommend a change in infrastructure-siting policies to head off loss of this critical habitat.
NEW PAPER: Linear infrastructure drives habitat conversion and forest fragmentation associated with Marcellus shale gas development in a forested landscape
April 3, 2017
Highlights: Pipelines comprised the largest portion of the shale gas industry footprint; Pipelines were the largest contributor to the fragmentation of core forest; Loss of core forest was double on private land compared to public land; Methods to consolidate pipelines with other infrastructure should be used; New pads should be placed near existing pipelines to reduce further fragmentation.
NEW BOOK CHAPTER: Soils of the United States
March 22, 2017
This new book chapter highlights the unique characteristics of soils across the United States and discusses their genesis. The chapter is part of a new International Encyclopedia of Geography.
NEW PAPER: Simulating ungulate herbivory across forest landscapes: A browsing extension for LANDIS-II
February 23, 2017
Highlights • We developed a Browse Extension to simulate effects of ungulates on the growth and survival of plant species cohorts. • The capabilities of the extension were explored via case studies in the Allegheny National Forest and Isle Royale National Park, USA. • In both model applications, browsing reduced total aboveground live biomass and caused shifts in forest composition. • Simulations that included effects of browsing resulted in successional patterns that were similar to those observed in the study regions. • Neglecting effects of browsing when modeling forest succession may result in flawed predictions of forest biomass and composition in some ecosystems.
NEW PAPER: Provisional, Forested Ecological Sites in the Northern Appalachians and Their State-and-Transition Models
January 4, 2017
The identification of unique areas of vegetative potential across the Northern Appalachians is complicated by a long land-use history of vegetation management. We introduce provisional ecological sites and associated state-and-transition models for the region, which can be differentiated by latitudinal drivers of: precipitation and temperature; local parent material and resulting soil differences; and landscape position, slope, or aspect. Identification of ecological sites and associated States or Phases in the Northern Appalachians provides land managers with quantifiable benchmarks for assessing forest compositional shifts due to natural or anthropogenic disturbance. Drohan, Patrick, and Alex Ireland. "Provisional, Forested Ecological Sites in the Northern Appalachians and Their State-and-Transition Models." Rangelands (2016).