The Forest Stewards Guild research program carries out the Guild's mission by synthesizing and conducting scientific research to support our science based advocacy, field meetings, Model Forests, and members' land stewardship. Science goes hand in hand with Guild member's place-based experience to guide the practice of ecologically, economically, and socially responsible forestry. Guild research plays a key role as a moderating voice in forest debates because we strive to balance the ecological and economic concerns that are often in conflict. We develop informational resources that help people and communities engaged in forest stewardship. We also assist research scientists and organizations in incorporating the place-based experiential knowledge, perspectives, and needs of foresters and other natural resource professionals.
Current research at the Guild includes:
- Climate Change, Carbon, and Forests
The Guild research seeks to identify how forest can resist the impacts of climate change and mitigate its effects. Our report Climate Change, Carbon, and the Forests of the Northeast analyzed climate change impacts, carbon policy, and effects of forest management in the Northeast. Based on this analysis, the report provides practical strategies for use by forest managers to help sequester more carbon and improve forests' resilience to climate change. Read the full report here or the executive summary here.
In New Mexico, we helped convene a workshop on forest management and climate change, produced a workshop summary , and contributed to a white paper on climate change considerations in mixed conifer management.
- Woody Biomass from Forests
Through a grant from the Joint Fire Sciences Program we collected and analyzed case studies of biomass removal projects from across the country. Our report highlights strategies and techniques managers from across the country are using to successfully implement biomass projects. A newly revised report released by the Forest Stewards Guild provides an assessment of current guidelines for biomass harvesting and provides recommendations for future guidelines. Guidelines are crucial for ensuring energy generated from forest biomass is harvested sustainably and the Forest Stewards Guild's Forest Biomass Retention and Harvesting Guidelines address questions of forest sustainability in a time of increasing interest in harvesting forest biomass for energy security, climate mitigation, and economic reasons. The guidelines are based on the best available science and are the product of a six month effort by a working group of twenty one Forest Stewards Guild members. The scientific background for the guidelines is summarized in an accompanying document titled Ecology of Dead Wood in the Northeast. The working group also drew from existing biomass harvesting guidelines developed by states and internationally.
The Guild is currently working on a similar report detailing the ecology of dead wood in the Southeast as well as a national review of coarse woody material.
- Ecological Forestry Initiative
The Ecological Forestry Initiative provides an online regional "field manual" for ecological forestry, with chapters dedicated to the overall philosophy, values, and practice.
Our work on ecological forestry research also includes projects such our investigation of fuel treatment practices in mixed-conifer forests in California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. Our goal is to develop a publication that provides land managers with information they can use to implement successful fuel treatment projects. Read more about the project here.
- Community Capacity to Protect Against Wildfire
The Guild and partners at Resource Innovations developed quantitative methods for assessing community capacity to protect against wildfire in a report . Our index of community capacity to protect against wildfire has been used in community wildfire protect plans in New Mexico and Oregon. This work is part of a larger effort to engage socially vulnerable populations in community wildfire protection plans.
- Working Forest Conservation Easements
The Guild has developed and is implementing of a rating system for working forest conservation easements.
The Forest Stewards Guild research program is lead by Dr. Zander Evans, research director, and welcomes collaboration and partnerships.
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