Large-scale analysis of sustainable forest management indicators: assessments of air pollution, forest disturbance, and biodiversity

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Title: Large-scale analysis of sustainable forest management indicators: assessments of air pollution, forest disturbance, and biodiversity
Author: Coulston, John Wesley
Advisors: William D Smith, Committee Member
Kurt Riitters, Committee Member
Heather Cheshire, Committee Chair
Marcia Gumpertz, Committee Member
Abstract: As the doubling time of the global human population decreases, increasing emphasis is placed on sustainable development by both policy makers and scientists. Sustainable forest management is one part of the overall picture of sustainable development. One method to assess sustainable forest management is through the use of criteria and indicators. Criteria represent sustainable management goals. Indicators are measurable quantities that designate whether the goals are being met. The maintenance of forest health and vitality is a criterion of the Montrêal Process Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests. Measures of air pollution, forest disturbance, and change in ecological integrity provide indicators of how well forest health and vitality are being maintained. Using national databases, I assess air pollution in the United States, demonstrate the use of epidemiological approaches to examine forest disturbances, and develop an analytical technique to identify gaps and target priorities in reserve networks. The analyses in this dissertation offer new approaches to large-scale analysis of Montrêl Process Criteria and Indicators. The results can be summarized as follows. (1) From 1994 through 2000 air pollution was highest in the northeastern United States and the oak-hickory and loblolly-shortleaf forest type groups were consistently exposed to more air pollution than other forest types. Conversely, the western white pine and larch forest type groups were consistently exposed to less air pollution than all other forest types. (2) Examination of the southeastern United States revealed high rates of forest fragmentation in the piedmont and coastal plain region. In the Pacific North west, insect and pathogen activity was analyzed and recurring clusters of high rates of activity were identified. (3) Although protected areas of the Douglas-fir forest type group occurred throughout much of the species range, most existed in colder and drier parts of the range. To conserve representative habitats, future conservation efforts would be most effective in warmer and wetter areas of western Oregon, northwestern Washington, and northwestern California.
Date: 2004-06-28
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Forestry
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5224


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