Land use and climate change are affecting the health and viability of New Jersey's forest resources. Reduced canopy cover in our urban areas, whether due to the conversion of remaining undeveloped forested open space or loss of street and yard trees, has possible negative implications for such ecosystem services as local climate resiliency (i.e. heat island effects) and downstream water quality (due to increased runoff). Climate change may affect urban and rural forests alike, leading to changes in tree species composition, increased competition from non-native invasive species, or increased susceptibility to insect pests and disease. Increasing frequency of extreme rain events may increase storm damage, runoff, and erosion. Individual tree species are likely to respond by increasing or decreasing in biomass, shifting to find new suitable habitat on the landscape.Mitigating the negative impact of these driving factors, as well as taking advantage of potential opportunities, is a local decision-making challenge and is going to require site-specific remedies. For example, analyzing trends in canopy cover for a specific municipality may help prioritize locations for tree planting, species selection and other management efforts such as anticipating disease or pest risk. Given the mandate for the No Net Loss of forest lands associated with state-owned development projects, urban forest managers need assistance in choosing the most appropriate tree species planting choices for a reforestation plan given expected climate-related range shifts. Similarly, through the New Jersey Community Forestry Assistance Act, communities need to develop and execute community forest management plans for liability protection and access to grant funding, which requires professional guidance and information.In New Jersey, decisions concerning forest management are often shared by the land-holder (i.e., government agency, non-governmental land trust or private forest landowner) and a professional forester or natural resource manager (either in the employ of the agency or organization or in a consulting role). We propose to design and develop a WebGIS portal, NJForestAdapt, to facilitate access and communication of relevant information (maps, graphics and text) concerning New Jersey's forest resources and strategies for adapting to a changing environment to these groups of forest stakeholders. Additionally, our project will communicate information and messaging designed for other stakeholders and the general public for outreach and education, thus enhancing public discourse on the impacts of climate change to New Jersey's forest resources.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/15 → 7/31/18|
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))