assessment of sustainability of our forests

Southern Forest Resource Assessment

led by the USDA Forest Service's Southern Region and Southern Research Station in collaboration with the USEPA, US Fish & Wildlife, TVA, and state forestry agencies of the Southern United States

I. Landscapes/Terrestrial Ecosystems

The Southern Forest Resource Assessment will address a set of questions regarding the sustainability of the South’s forests.  This page contains a list of questions that are now proposed to organize the analysis in the Landscapes/Terrestrial Ecosystems category. These questions address broad issues so to provide additional detail, we include specific points that will be addressed as each question is answered. At the end of the page are links to the other broad categories.

To the left of each question is a "what you said" link taking you to the public inputs submitted about the earlier version of that question.


Comments about the earlier version of this question

1.  What are the history, status and projected future of terrestrial wildlife habitat types and species in the South?

  • Evaluate changes in species diversity.
  • Measure changes in the distribution and amount of mast-producing species.
  • Address how different intensities of logging, fire and other forest management practices influence various wildlife habitat types
  • Describe how land use changes have and are likely to influence habitats.
  • Describe the critical and emerging habitat needs in the region.
  • Consider the contribution of areas set aside on public lands and by NGO’s in providing habitats.
  • Describe lost or degraded habitats that could be restored.
  • Describe the history of wildlife habitat types as far back as can be documented.
  • Link discussion of all of the above to animal species populations and ecological communities.
  • Evaluate implications of fragmentation and its’ causes.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

2. What are the history, status and projected future of native plant communities in the South?

  • Determine and describe the character and distribution of the (major) historic native plant communities in the southern U.S.
  • Ascertain the historic indigenous structure, composition and functional dynamics of the major native plant communities of the region.
  • Evaluate how changes in native forest structural attributes, plant species composition, and landscape distribution patterns have changed native plant community dynamics and plant species diversity.
  • Measure changes in plant biodiversity in various ecological regions.
  • Evaluate the effects of anthropogenic influences (fire regimes and exotic species) on native plant communities.
  • Determine the probable future of plant communities in the South if current trends continue.
  • Evaluate the contributions of cooperative conservation efforts on plant communities.
  • Address the effects of exotic species on habitats.
  • Evaluate the role that various forest types and successional stages (including monotypic stands) play in providing native plant habitats.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

3.  What are the likely effects of expanding human populations, urbanization and infrastructure development on wildlife and their habitats?

  • Evaluate the current and potential impacts of exotic plants and animals.
  • Evaluate the impacts of land use changes and distinguish between permanent (i.e., forest to urban) and possibly transitory changes (i.e., forest to pasture, cropland to forest).
  • Describe historical changes and their known impacts.
  • Evaluate the effects of forest users (e.g., roads, trails, etc.).
  • Identify which wildlife species are favored and which are adversely affected by these factors.
Comments about the earlier version of this question

4.  What are the historical and projected future impacts of forest management and access on terrestrial ecosystems in the South?

  • Assess how the increase in pine plantations has and is likely to influence wildlife habitat and associated wildlife species, populations and communities.
  • Address how fire exclusion and management has shaped the structure of wildlife habitat.
  • Address how forest management practices (i.e. harvesting, site preparation, regeneration) have influenced the distribution of tree species, including species that produce hard mast and the resultant effects on wildlife.
  • Evaluate how forest-based recreation influences the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Evaluate the impacts of various corridors, including power lines, pipelines, roads, and canals, on terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Identify the causes and impacts of forest fragmentation on the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems.
    (new question)

5. What conditions will be needed to maintain plant and animal species associations in the South?

  • Evaluate the role that various forest types and successional stages (including monotypic stands) play in providing wildlife habitat.
  • Include all species--i.e., game, non-game and Threatened and Endangered species.
  • Describe habitat characteristics necessary to sustain viable populations of forest wildlife.
  • Evaluate the role of coarse woody debris and snags and address their availability.
  • Include the effects of vertical structure of forests in this analysis.
  • Identify current and anticipated threats to these habitat associations.
  • Evaluate native forests, corridors and linkages, diversity of types and interior Forest “core areas”, fire dependent communities, managed forests, mature forests and fragmentation.

Other Broad Categories:
II. Social/Economic Factors
III. Timber Markets and Forest Management
IV. Forest Extent, Conditions, and Health
V. Watersheds, Aquatic/Riparian Ecosystems, and Forested Wetlands
red oak leaf as separator

Proposed Questions | Assessment Home | SRS Home

modified: 17-APR-2000
webmaster: John M. Pye