An early look at forest regeneration indicator results for the Midwest and Northeast United StatesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Interacting regeneration stressors create challenges for policy makers and managers who are tasked with making decisions for restoring forest following major disturbances, such as harvest or catastrophic mortality. Concern over an aging forest, dwindling young forest habitat, and restoration of native forests in the midwest and northeast United States has resulted in the development of the regeneration indicator (RI), a new ecological health indicator derived from 25 years of measuring advance regeneration in Pennsylvania. The RI protocols were added to the Northern Research Station (NRS), Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program sample plot design in 2012. Two case studies are presented that exemplify the scope of possible inferences from the existing data. The examples use two key variables—numbers of seedlings and browse impact—to highlight potential applications of this metric. Future research should focus on identifying issue-oriented geographic hot spots, further development of regeneration adequacy analytics, and integration with other publicly available geographic datasets.