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Wednesday, April 11 • 4:00pm - 4:15pm
REMOTE SENSING/IMAGE ANALYSIS: Enhancing Bird Habitat in Late Successional Forests of the Central Appalachians by Managing for Structural Complexity

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AUTHORS: Andrew J. Elmore*, Matthew C. Fitzpatrick – University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; Jeff Larkin, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Steven M. Guinn, Matthew Lisk – University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

ABSTRACT: Management of temperate forests of the central Appalachian Mountains has reached a crossroads. After over 100 years of post-harvest regrowth there exists today an impressive resource of mature forest stands, representing 22% of forests in the lower 48-states of the US. This gradual dominance of mature forests has occurred concurrently with declines in the abundance of species dependent on early successional habitat, particularly since the 1960’s. While the forest products industry prepares to cut these forests at a sustainable rate, conservation groups are trying to consider how forest harvest could be used as a tool to generate landscape patterns that enhance habitat area for species that depend on diverse forest structure. Of particular interest are forest dwelling birds that require mature and early successional habitat during different life stages, and are therefore sensitive to the interleaving of these different forest types on the landscape. Managing for such habitat at landscape scales requires continuous monitoring data on forest structure, ideally derived from remote sensing sources sensitive to the 3D-structure of vegetation and disturbance history. This presentation will describe remote sensing approaches to acquire such data and to use the data to calculate metrics of spatial heterogeneity and connectivity that could be leveraged to better estimate habitat suitability. Initial plans to integrate maps of forest structure and connectivity between forests of diverse structure into existing forest management plans will be discussed.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 4:00pm - 4:15pm CDT
Water Tower Parlor