RCN Collaborators Develop Detailed Map of New England Forest Composition

RCN collaborators Matthew Duveneck, and Jonathan Thompson, in collaboration with Ty Wilson of the US Forest Service, recently developed a unique forest map for New England. Their approach pairs one of the thousands of Forest Service field plots to every forested pixel (250m) within the six states. The choice of plot to pair with each pixel is based on their similarity in terms of satellite and environmental data in addition to information about tree species distributions.   A description of theirmap matthew methods and an analysis of the map’s accuracy are described in a journal article titled: “An imputed forest composition map for New England screened by species range boundaries” that was published last week in “Forest Ecology and Management.” The researchers have also made the map available through the Harvard Forest Data Archive. Matthew Duveneck, lead author of the study, says that this map: “will play an important role to provide starting condition within all the forest change simulations being conducted as part of the S3 RCN project.”  In addition to forest composition, highly detailed forest maps with species specific attributes from individual plots can be used to map habitat structure and other forest characteristics (Example below of forest type).

This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation Harvard Forest Long Term Ecological Research Program (Grant No. NSF-DEB 12-37491) and the Scenarios, Services and Society Research Coordination Network (Grant No. NSF-DEB-13-38809).

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