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Healthy Forests First Assessing Indicators of Healthy Forests: a web-based application to provide statewide information to natural resource professionals. DRAFT – October 2006 Vermont Division of Forests. Public Perception of Forests. Change in the importance of forests to society
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Healthy Forests FirstAssessing Indicators of Healthy Forests: a web-based application to provide statewide information to natural resource professionals DRAFT – October 2006 Vermont Division of Forests
Public Perception of Forests Change in the importance of forests to society • Work force distanced from forest-based careers • Increasing urban population • Increasing emigration to VT from urban areas Result is a growing number of people not engaged or interested in thinking about forests.
Healthy forests depend on human communities that understand how the forest is interconnected with their own lives.
Surface Desires Cool clothes Computer games IM, MySpace, iTunes Shopping Malls Well equipped schools (i.e. computer technology) After school jobs (like for the money) Cars Movies and TV Snacks and food Awesome homes Sports Recreation: skiing, biking, boating, hiking… Deep Desires Health Clean air Clean water Security Peace of mind Warm homes Animals, wildlife Beauty Teens Like …
Nature is an integral part of human lives. • Forests are an integral part of nature. • Humans and nature interact in a web of connection.
Web of Connections Nature Connections People Connections Healthy Forests First Indicators Environmental Topics Connections
Web of Connections – Nature & Forests
Balance of Values = Sustainability Sustainability
NEWHealthy Forestsare at the heart ofForestry Division Functions Healthy Forests Sustainability Functions of Forestry Division
Healthy Forests Definition A healthy forest has the capacity for self renewal of its ecological productivity, diversity, complexity, and resiliency. Aldo Leopold: Healthy forests have the capacity for self-renewal. VT Forest Resource Plan-Forest Health: Healthy forests are able to sustain their complexity, diversity, resiliency and productivity over time.
Healthy Forest Work GroupWhat are the Steps… Work Group Mike Snyder Lisa Thornton Chuck Vile Jeff Briggs Aaron Hurst Eric Hansen Scott Pfister Bill Moulton Matt Leonard Sean Lawson David Brynn (former member)
Pilot Project Database Current Data Problems - • Forestry staff can’t access or share with each other all the data they collect, nor can they aggregate data properly. • Staff can’t communicate data to the public nor policy makers. Database Audience - • Forestry staff and natural resource professionals, so they can use results to inform and engage the public and policy makers.
Montreal Process –Criteria of Forest Sustainability Criterion 1: Biological Diversity Criterion 2: Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystem Criterion 3: Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality Criterion 4: Soil and Water Resources Criterion 5: Forest Contribution to Global Carbon Cycles Criterion 6: Long-term Multiple Socio-economic Benefits to Meet the Needs of Societies Criterion 7: Legal, Institutional, and Economic Framework for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management
Montreal Process Criteria 3: Maintenance of forest ecosystem health & vitality
Disturbances Exotics Traditional Measurements Pollutants Ecosystem processes Ozone
Ecosystem health and vitality Healthy ecosystem (Vt Forest Resource Plan) = an ecosystem in which structure and functions allow the maintenance of the desired conditions of biological diversity, biotic integrity, and ecological processes over time. Vitality = the capacity to live, grow, or develop.
VT Pilot Indicators Used • Amount and distribution of different types of forests. • Amount and distribution of different tree sizes, tree ages, and successional stages within different forest types. • Amount, location and condition of special habitat features. • Number, status and range of forest dependent species and sensitive natural communities.
Pilot Indicators (cont) • Amount of forestland affected by significant natural or human disturbances, beyond the range of historic variation. • Amount of forestland exposed to air pollutants that may cause negative impacts on forest ecosystems. • Amount of forestland changed by ecological functions, structure or processes. • Abundance of non-native invasive organisms. • Forest ecosystem biomass and carbon pool.
Healthy Forest Pilot ProjectData Processing Internal Data Sources FOREX NAMP HHS VMC FIA FHM UVA U&CF Aerial survey summary External Data Sources Air Quality Weather VMC Spatial Data Sources Aerial survey Soils VMC Healthy Forests First Database Standardized tables of Indicators Spatial reference Site Characteristics Web Database Application Choice of Indicators and Scales Web of Connection Oct. 30, 2006 Draft
Future Spatial Application Click on polygon List of plot systems available Description of watershed List of indicators to choose from Results show reference to HFF Indicators
Summary Report – Healthy Forest Indicators Complexity Ecological Productivity Tree sizes Forest types Tree growth Ecosystem biomass Resiliency Diversity Special habitat features Forest dependent species Disturbances Air pollution exposure Tree condition Mortality
Landscapes are a patchwork of different levels of diversity, different composition of species, different structures and complexity, and therefore existing in a range of resiliency.
Tree size distributionRegeneration most abundant size Photo: Gary Salmon
Tree size distributionPole size trees abundant Photo: Gary Salmon
Tree size distributionMixture of tree sizes Photo: Gary Salmon
Tree size distributionLarge trees abundant Photo: Sandy Wilmot
Thanks Steve Sinclair, Director of Forestry Division Funding sources: VMC -Indicator Development, USFS -Planning Healthy Forests First Work Group