S1091: Forest Health and Resilience
(Multistate Research Project)
S1091: Forest Health and Resilience
Duration: 10/01/2022 to 09/30/2027
Statement of Issues and Justification
Forests are essential to our nation’s economy and ecosystem health and are a major economic engine in the United States producing over $300 billion in timber and forest products annually and roughly four percent of the manufacturing gross domestic product. The industry directly employs 950,000 workers (Jolley et al. 2020). In addition, forests provide innumerable critical ecosystem services to our society, for example, 60 percent of the country’s freshwater flows from forests, and insect pollinators of food crops and valued wildlife reside in our forests, helping to nourish the nation in body and spirit.
However, our forests are threatened by several factors that are widespread and linked in complex ways. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, across the nation more than 8.6 million acres of forests were dying from insects and diseases in 2017, in part because of how these pests interacted with changes in climate. Recurring southern pine beetle (SPB) (Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmerman) outbreaks threaten the South’s $200 million forest product industry (Price et al. 1992, Clarke and Nowak 2009). Invasive pests have effectively eradicated entire species (e.g., American elm (Ulmus americana L.) and chestnut (Castanea dentata L.) (Merkle et al. 2007). Today laurel wilt is decimating multiple species in the Lauraceae family across the southeastern United States, including commercial avocado (Galko et al. 2019). The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) is expanding from the devastated ash trees of the Midwest to the western and southeastern United States (Kovacs et al. 2010). In the southeastern United States, outbreaks of pitch canker and needlecast diseases, caused by Fusarium circinatum and Lecanosticta acicola, respectively, have affected millions of acres in recent years, with the virulence of needlecast being a new phenomenon (Quesada et al. 2019, Pandit et al. 2020). The Asian longhorned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis, was present for several years in South Carolina before its detection in 2020 (Coyle et al. 2021). Without a response from society, the scientific community expects threats from both native and invasive pests to grow in frequency and severity.
The threats to southern and eastern forests come from multiple interacting phenomena. Climatic factors interact with native and invasive pests and affect rates of invasion (Ungerer et al. 1999), tree sensitivities to pests (Klockow et al. 2018), and potential pest range (Lombardo et al. 2018). Changes in climate may also affect survival and virulence of current pathogen strains, affecting host susceptibility (Quesada et al. 2019), such that strains with low survival and virulence under current conditions might be favored by higher temperatures, thus becoming a threat under future climate scenarios. Efforts to identify and respond to these factors require extensive networks of vested institutions and individuals, ranging from private landowners who might first identify an issue, to the academic or government researchers and agencies who can initiate a response (Brawner et al. 2019). Making sure the response of society is equitably distributed among stakeholders also requires diversity among the types of network connections. The response capacity and commitment of the people within these networks can modify how destructive a climatic or pest-driven phenomenon might be.
The current rate of new, emerging threats overburdens our infrastructure resulting in prioritization that has unintended consequences. Moreover, we are prone to focus outreach on those stakeholders with significant resources, as they are more active land managers. However, this has contributed to the well-documented phenomenon of underrepresented groups being further marginalized when disaster strikes (Miner et al. 2021). Quickly identifying recommendations for landowners, and offsetting biases in their dissemination, requires the merging of scientific disciplines in ways that are currently beyond the power of single institutions. Over the last century, billions of trees have died because of changing climate and invasive and native pests but society still offers forests as a solution to climate change through harvesting trees for bioenergy or by planting a trillion trees to remove atmospheric CO2 (Lippke et al. 2021). How can we expect forests to provide these services when efforts to protect this vital resource face increasing pressures from new and unforeseen threats?
Industry and private landowner stakeholder groups across a wide spectrum of interests have recognized the potential threat that these factors pose to forests. In 2019, the University of Florida hosted a collaborative workshop focused on the forest health issue and leaders from the forest industry and landowner groups identified key needs for the research and outreach communities (Fox et al. 2019):
“Improved monitoring efforts to quickly detect and identify both native and exotic insects and diseases and evaluate their risk. This should include improved biosecurity efforts at ports of entry to prevent the introduction of invasive species that threaten US forests.
Development of the practical tools needed to improve forest-management practices, so that landowners and managers can respond swiftly to threats from insects and diseases as they occur.
Tree-improvement efforts that use both traditional tree breeding and modern biotechnology to identify mechanisms of susceptibility/resistance and develop trees better adapted to resist insects and diseases, while at the same time advancing understanding of the impacts of these tree improvements from an ecological perspective.
Education and community outreach efforts to inform land managers and the general public about the risks to forests from insects and diseases and provide them with the knowledge and tools needed to create more-resilient, healthier forests that better mitigate the risks faced”
Need for a multistate effort
Addressing these needs for improved forest health and resilience as identified by our stakeholders requires efforts that are larger in scale than what can be addressed by small, geographically- or disciplinarily isolated teams of investigators or institutions (Brawner et al. 2019). Since pests and climatic threats interact and spillover across political boundaries, coordinated multistate communication and collaborative research can better prepare the nation to cope with emerging threats to forest health and resilience.
Related, Current and Previous Work
ProForest: a regional proactive forest health research and extension network
To address the need for a better coordination of research and extension efforts on emerging threats to forests in the Southeastern US, forest health specialists from universities and institutions across the southeastern/eastern United States, especially from the 1862 and 1890 land grant institutions (Appendix E), have created a collaborative network. The network is currently informal but has grown substantially over the last three years. Having covered specializations ranging from RS, entomology, pathology, to communication, the group has grown into a dominant entity in the region. We continue to approach potential collaborators strategically to maximize impact on engaging underrepresented stakeholders, focusing on individuals from both within and outside of our region.
One goal of this Hatch project is to respond to our stakeholders by formalizing the ProForest group, facilitate further integration of the forest health programs at land grant Universities, and to provide science-based solutions to land managers and regulators.
A search of the ‘CRIS/USDA Assisted Search Page’ and the ‘National Information Management and Support System-NIMSS' databases further highlights the need for a Forest Health network. Within the McIntire-Stennis active grants, there are 251 projects that feature the term ‘forest health’ in their descriptions. Among competitive Agriculture and Food Research Initiative projects, 40 contain a reference to forest health. Although many of these projects are tangentially related to the research foci described here, some would be related, and potential partners will be identified and contacted from within these projects. Nonetheless, there is no overarching NIMSS project focused on forest health referenced within the southern and northeastern region. Similarly, there are no forest health related projects addressing the need to coordinate research and extension efforts on emerging forest threats across regions. Potential collaborating NIMSS networks that are currently active include:
The Working Group on Improving Microbial Control of Arthropod Pests
Research and Extension for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Applications in U.S. Agriculture and Natural Resources
Plant Genetic Resources Conservation and Utilization
Biological Control of Arthropod Pests and Weeds
Climate change, forest monitoring, and forest resilience
Initial Team Makeup: John Couture, Purdue University; Jason Vogel, University of Florida; Johnny Grace, United States Forest Service and Florida A&M University; Aditya Singh, University of Florida; Shannon Lynch, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
The potential effects of climate change on the nation’s forests have garnered interest and funding for multidisciplinary research for at least the last two decades, but with minimal focus on forest health. Most large-scale efforts have investigated temperature or precipitation change as a function of building CO2 levels, and the potential consequences of climate change for forest primary productivity and carbon storage (e.g., The Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation project (pinemap.org)). However, it has become apparent that the number and severity of disturbances associated with climate change are likely to be as consequential to forests as the long-term trajectories of annual average precipitation or temperature. Drought, wildfire, extreme wind-events (hurricanes, derechos, and tornados), sea level rise, and water table change from extreme precipitation events can kill as many trees in a year as insects and pathogens (Anderegg et al. 2020). Climate scientists predict that because of climate change, many of these disturbance types are either now increasing in intensity and frequency or will do so over the next few decades (Knutson et al. 2021).
Besides the direct effects on tree mortality, disturbances often interact with biotic agents to create multi-year lags in tree mortality after a disturbance event (Klockow et al. 2018). General tree stress, or improved conditions for the insect or pathogen, can create the necessary conditions for increased pest virulence even years after the disturbance (Kneeshaw et al. 2021). These types of ‘disturbance pulse and lagged response’ phenomena are best studied using experimental networks with pre-disturbance data as this can be vital to interpreting post-disturbance effects (Seidl et al. 2011). Collaborative research can be instrumental in identifying those research installations most useful for understanding the linkages among climate change, disturbance, and pest effects on tree mortality.
Recent advances in optical sensors, from manned, unmanned, and satellites, now enable detection and quantification of tree health (Singh et al. 2015; Heim et al. 2018), but incorporation of these approaches into epidemiology (i.e., tracking pest and pathogen spread and the development of stress over time) at spatial scales necessary to manage production forests is lacking. Also, the increase in volume of information collected during numerous RS acquisitions can become logistically difficult to process, store, and manage, suggesting that optimization of RS acquisitions is an important consideration. Collection of multi-temporal and spatial remotely sensed information provides the data necessary to answer the question of how much information is sufficient to detect and characterize stress. The lack of development of fine-scale RS products into a temporal framework to address questions of biotic and abiotic stress incidence, severity, and spread over time represents a knowledge gap in fully integrating the approaches of using RS products to address important forest management questions.
Native pests: Forest management, tree breeding, and other genetic approaches
Initial Team Makeup: Tania Quesada, University of Florida, Jason Vogel, University of Florida
Threats from some native insects and pathogens have been addressed in the southeastern United States using forest management approaches and tree breeding. Regarding forest management, the most successful example of pest control has occurred for the southern pine beetle. Historically, SPB has been one of the most destructive pests for industrial pine forests, however, a collaborative multi-decade effort to understand SPB’s life cycle resulted in recommendations for containment and management that when followed, have dramatically curtailed SPB’s damage in actively managed pine forests (Asaro et al. 2017). Severe SPB problems still do exist, but outbreaks generally occur where climate change has allowed SPB to expand its range into new areas (Aoki et al. 2018), or where there is little management to control its spread and occurrence (Nowak et al. 2008). As an example of a successful genetics approach, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) breeding for resistance to fusiform rust (Cronartium quercuum (Berk.) Miyabe ex. Shirai f. sp. fusiforme (Cqf)) has dramatically reduced rust’s incidence in subsequent pine families (Sniezko et al. 2014), especially those planted in intensive forestry operations. Similar to SPB, decades of research were required to develop families of loblolly pine resistant to rust (Sniezko et al. 2014).
Pathogens like Fusarium circinatum, which causes pitch canker disease in pines, are a good model to test the effects of a changing climate on forest health. Resistance to this fungus has been shown to be quantitative and heritable (Kayihan et al. 2005, Quesada et al. 2010), with heritability values of 0.4. This means that 40% of the phenotypic variance – in this case, resistance to the pathogen – comes from host genetic effects and 60% comes from environmental effects. A changing climate has the potential to affect host resistance as well as pathogen survival and virulence. Studies of survival and growth of F. circinatum isolates at increased temperatures showed significant differences in how these different strains respond to temperature (Quesada et al., 2019). These isolates also showed differences in virulence among slash and loblolly pine families (Quesada et al., 2019, Jeremy Brawner, personal communication). Currently, large-scale experiments are being conducted to test the genetics of pitch canker resistance across an array of family-by-pathogen interactions. The research is aimed at breeding for resistance to pitch canker, but the approach can be applied to other pests.
Several lessons relevant to our proposed effort can be found in these three examples. First, successful programs require sustained research and collaboration efforts. For SPB, the United States Forest Service (USFS), universities, private sector entities, and other federal and state agencies developed collaborative monitoring and research programs that led to today’s successes (Asaro et al. 2017). Much of the monitoring structure remains active in the region and is vital for understanding SPB’s current dynamics (Nowak et al. 2008). For rust, the initial makeup and the duration of collaborative efforts was similar to that of SPB (~50 years), but private industry and universities have been leaders for much of the recent tree breeding research (Sniezko et al 2014). Ongoing work now incorporates advanced genetic investigation of both the pathogen and tree hosts that may lead to the forward selection of tree breeding pairs that more rapidly bring about tree resistance to pests (Pike et al. 2021). Besides their longevity and the multi-institutional nature of successful collaborations, a key lesson from these efforts is that financially valuable tree species have garnered the most and consistent resources, and when this occurs, successes can follow.
Identifying increasing virulence of native and invasive pests
Initial Team Makeup: Jiri Hulcr, University of Florida, Tania Quesada, University of Florida, Denita Hadziabdic, University of Tennessee; Shannon Lynch, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Project 1: pre-invasion assessment: Exotic bark and ambrosia beetles and their fungal symbionts pose potential threats to North American trees. To assist the risk assessment process by the USDA APHIS, our team is testing which Asian bark and ambrosia beetles and their fungal symbionts may be potentially pathogenic before they invade the US. To test the potential pathogens, we trap beetles in native forests of Asia. We isolated the fungi associated with the beetles, ship the isolates to the quarantine facility in Florida, and inoculate them into economically and ecologically important pines and oaks. For pathogenic strains that kill trees, we will recommend that the federal government via APHIS and State agencies act against the beetle vectors in case of invasion.
Project 2: molecular detection of invasive species. Rapid molecular detection of forest pathogens is a critical need for diagnosticians and can lead to best management practices and informed decision-making by federal and state agencies. We propose to expand the utility of our novel Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) detection tool and adapt it for use in Laurel Wilt (LW) and Oak Wilt (OW) diagnosis. The pathogens causing these diseases are difficult to diagnose. External symptoms and signs of the fungi are often missing in diseased trees, especially during early infection or in asymptomatic trees. Symptoms in trees are often variable in appearance and are easily confused with abiotic causes. We will use species-specific microsatellite TaqMan probes to build a powerful disease screening tool that will reduce sample processing time. To do this, we will adapt our sensitive protocol, demonstrated for confirming TCD, to reveal the lower detection limits for fungi causing Oak and Laurel Wilt diseases using a conventional gel, a light source, and wavelength-restricting glasses with a TaqMan molecular probe assay. Arborists, urban foresters, regulatory agents, and diagnosticians can easily adopt this inexpensive technique to facilitate rapid Laurel and Oak Wilt diagnosis for their clients. This protocol can be readily adapted for rapid pest and pathogen detection of other complex disease systems.
Existing networks for forest health and resilience research and information sharing
Initial Team Makeup: Dave Coyle, Clemson University, Jiri Hulcr, University of Florida, Shannon Lynch, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Leslie Boby, University of Georgia
The southeastern United States has networks either directly or indirectly contributing to the monitoring of forest health and resilience, and the dissemination of related information. Programs supported by the USFS that span the nation (Forest Health Monitoring network, Forest Inventory and Analysis, FORWARN) are also the foundation of monitoring the dynamics of pests at the regional level. Private-public cooperative research networks are housed at several universities throughout the southeastern United States with some focused on either tree breeding for disease resistance (https://programs.ifas.ufl.edu/cfgrp/, https://programs.ifas.ufl.edu/fbrc/, https://cnr.ncsu.edu/research/centers-cooperatives/, https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/WesternGulfForest/) or in the identification of new and emerging pests (https://southernpinehealth.org/). Knowledge gained from these programs is often shared with the public via scientific literature or extension products (https://sref.info/, https://www.bugwood.org/). Information on the connections between forest health and climate are disseminated via the Southeast Climate Hub (https://www.climatehubs.usda.gov/hubs/southeast).
Social media platforms host outreach opportunities that provide alternative ways for the public, extension agents, researchers, and professional forest care specialists to interact with one another. Facebook pages (‘Proactive Forest health and resilience – Proforest', ‘Southern Forest and Tree Health Diagnostics’) create opportunities for these interactions and record dozens of ‘hits’ per week. The coinvestigators are linked to most of these networks as repeat contributors or active members. In addition, the collaborators are connected to extension efforts within their region on issues related to forest health and resilience.
Design and develop a responsive, collaborative network & strategy that allows us to rapidly identify and address trends in abiotic and biotic drivers of tree mortality.
Comments: The collaborative network of researchers and forest health professionals will form the basis for the other objectives. It is the first step in identifying emerging forest threats and connecting the individuals and institutions necessary for an effective response. This objective falls broadly under the auspices of "Existing networks for forest health and resilience research and information sharing" in the 'Related, Current and Previous Work' section.
Create new connections with traditionally underserved stakeholders, or minimally engaged populations.
Comments: As the network develops, we will focus on reaching new underserved partners and stakeholders. This objective falls broadly under the auspices of "Existing networks for forest health and resilience research and information sharing" in the 'Related, Current and Previous Work' section.
Link trends in regional climate and related disturbance to issues in forest health and resilience
Comments: Meetings and other forms of communication will be used share information among the network and with existing stakeholders. This objective falls broadly under the auspices of "Climate change, forest monitoring, and forest resilience" in the 'Related, Current and Previous Work' section.
Identify emerging pests and diseases that will affect forest health and resilience across the region.
Comments: Information on emerging forest threats will be shared among the network. This objective falls broadly under the auspices of "Identifying increasing virulence of native and invasive pests " in the 'Related, Current and Previous Work' section.
Objective 1: Design and develop a responsive, collaborative network & strategy for rapidly identifying and addressing trends in abiotic and biotic drivers of tree mortality.
The structure of the collaborative network will be designed in an iterative fashion at a series of special sessions or workshops that are convened at regional and national professional meetings and conferences. The identified participants in this proposal will use our professional networks to invite potential collaborators to join the effort and/or to contribute to development of the framework at these professional meetings (e.g., Society of American Foresters). These special sessions/workshops will start by sharing research and discussing potential proposals related to Objectives 2-4. Session/Workshop attendees may be invited to collaborate on new proposals. We plan to expand the number of project collaborators using this approach. In addition, we will extend additional efforts to reach potential collaborators that may not be within the same networks.
A novel aspect of this proposal will be its contribution to identifying experimental research networks that could increase knowledge on the linkages between forest management and forest health. Although FIA monitors forest health issues on a regional level, identifying causal linkages between management (e.g., harvesting, fertilization, prescribed fire etc.), climate, and a forest’s response to pests requires a research network based on manipulative research (Zhai et al. 2015). Different entities support hundreds of manipulated forest research plots across the southeastern United States (Vogel et al. 2022), but these are loosely organized and difficult to access for anyone from outside of the institution of origin. ProForest is documenting these installations across different institutional entities (e.g., University research forests, private industry) in the region so that they can be used in monitoring forest health and resilience.
Objective 2: Create new connections with traditionally underserved stakeholders, or minimally engaged populations.
There will be a special effort to connect with stakeholders who are atypical for the race and gender demographics of forest landowners as these groups may not participate with traditional assistance or informational programs (Dwivedi et al. 2015). As part of this effort, we will design directed communication of research findings that identify emerging threats relevant to these stakeholders. In addition, we will develop practices and tools for conducting outreach in new venues. Key aspects of effective engagement are having educated and engaged communicators (Gott and Coyle 2019) and using non-traditional and two-way communication pathways for outreach (Wilkes-Allemann et al. 2021). Traditional methods of communication between professionals and stakeholders are still useful – for instance, many people still prefer to read hardcopy information documents, or attend a live presentation – but moving beyond these traditional communication methods is critical to reaching new demographics. Social media can help reach new age demographics, while other digital means (e.g., podcasts) can be invaluable and reach many more individuals than other communication methods (Strickland et al. 2021). Effective engagement must employ a combination of traditional and novel methods to maximize reach and stakeholder impact.
Objective 3: Link trends in regional climate and related disturbance to issues in forest health and resilience.
In order to complete objective 2, the team will develop opportunities for collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst diverse research groups. The team will work to create strucutres for synthesizing ongoing research results from participants and creative ways to disseminate results from these studies to relevant stakeholders (Objective 3). Tree mortality events driven by extremes in climate and climate interaction with pests are being investigated using the FIA networks (Klockow et al. 2018, Sharma et al. 2021). The University-Industry research cooperatives are examining overall changes in tree productivity caused by management, and how management affects resistance to pests. Commercial families of southern pines have been co-selected for productivity and disease resistance, as well as family-level response to types of fertilization for both factors (Roth et al. 2005).
In many cases, the use of sensors on staffed and unmanned aerial vehicles or satellites, RS offers advantages over traditional methods of forest monitoring approaches, specifically by increasing the scope and scale of information collected that relates to tree health (Lausch et al. 2017). However, the adoption of this approach in forestry, specifically in a management context, has lagged traditional row-crop agriculture. Data forms collected in RS acquisitions can be related to visual changes in color using high-resolution RGB cameras, canopy structure using light detection and ranging (LiDAR), and physiological and chemical status of vegetation using hyperspectral cameras (Lausch et al. 2017). The combination of these data forms each provides unique information to assess forest volume, canopy structure and function, and can be used individually or in combination. For example, when collecting remotely sensed hyperspectral imagery, LiDAR can segment pixels into classes that are more representative of understory vegetation or those of canopy vegetation based on canopy height (Asner et al. 2015).
Objective 4: Identify emerging pests and diseases that will affect forest health and resilience across the region.
To test the potential level of threat posed by wood borer insects, we aim to establish sentinel gardens of American trees in several natural localities in Asia, spanning the tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions that match the USA latitudinal range. Trees will be monitored for damage and new borer infestation will be triaged as high or low priority based on whether they colonize and kill living trees. For the high priority species, key risk factors will be collected: feasibility of identification, host range, attraction to commercial lures, attraction to living trees, ability to develop in the tree, seasonality, climatic range, and others.
Measurement of Progress and Results
- Trends identified for the climate and related disturbances that could threaten forest health either directly or by facilitating the increased virulence of pests.
- Network of established forest management experiments documented and geo-located with remote sensing products.
- Forest network information made available to extension agents and scientists.
- Forest management recommendations that mitigate the effects of climate, disturbances, and pests.
- Pine families identified that are resistant to pitch canker under various levels of nitrogen fertilization.
- Potential pests documented from overseas sentinel program and from pathogen trap surveillance systems.
- Results reported through traditional scientific outlets, professional networks, extension products, and online connection with old and new stakeholders.
Outcomes or Projected Impacts
- Improved understanding of climate and disturbance trends will provide stakeholders with the information needed to assess risk.
- Increased participation from typically underserved communities and citizen scientists.
- Greater awareness and use of planted pines that are resistant to native pests (pitch canker, fusiform rust).
- Recommendations for management approaches that mitigate the potential negative effects of climate-related disturbances or pests.
- Identification of overseas pests that could affect populations of native pines and other species in the southeastern United States.
- Increased awareness by the forestry community and landowners about the threats posed by climate change, endemic pests, and new threats.
- Training undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral associates, and visiting scientists in the identification of pests and climate conditions that affect forest health and resilience.
Milestones(2023):An initial meeting hosted at the University of Florida to determine the Executive Committee (see below) and subgroup leads (if desired). Determination of outreach products to be distributed during the next year based on threats and the research results of the group. Communication strategies will be discussed and decided on that include a focus on underserved communities. Quarterly meetings will facilitate the previous milestones and be used to plan publications and funding opportunities.
(2024):Link between forest management decisions to pest outbreaks will be the focus of this meeting. Introduction of recruited cohort of students, visiting scientists, and postdoctoral associates will be made to the group. An evaluation will be made of outreach methods to create new connections among and between stakeholders. The annual meeting and quarterly meetings will facilitate the previous milestones and be used to plan publications and funding opportunities.
(2025):The group will evaluate the effectiveness of the outreach approaches that were used over the previous years and on emerging pest detection. The potential focus areas include the sentinel program, molecular detection approaches, and pitch canker-forest fertilization experiments. Outreach efforts will be adjusted to increase effectiveness for both traditional and new stakeholder groups (see below). The annual meeting and quarterly meetings will facilitate the previous milestones and be used to plan publications and funding opportunities.
(2026):Focus on this meeting will be the forest health monitoring network that merged the ground-based measurements with remotely sensed data. Ongoing discussion of disease resistance among pine families will be included. The annual meeting and quarterly meetings will facilitate the previous milestones and be used to plan publications and funding opportunities.
(2027):The next proposal will be planned at the annual meeting. In the final year, we will also host a session at a national meeting focused on lessons learned regarding forest health and resilience. Papers and outreach products will be created based on identified threats. Modifications of outreach will be determined for the next proposal.
Projected ParticipationView Appendix E: Participation
The group has several existing entities and functions that will be used to disseminate research results to other scientists, private industry, and small landowners. The ProForest organization runs an active Facebook page, a newsletter, and a fall seminar series. The results from the group, faculty and associated students and scientists, will be regularly featured in the Facebook page and newsletter and the fall seminar series used to connect to new groups. Other entities distributing on forest health and resilience, including ‘Southern Regional Extension Forestry,’ ‘Bugwood.org,’ and the ‘Southeast Climate Hub,’ outlets where we have existing collaboration and overlap. Extension workshops and institutional or regional meetings (e.g., Southeastern Society of American Forester’s meeting) will be used to convey information to stakeholders and other scientists.
A feature of our outreach plan will be putting content in front of historically underserved communities. New venues for outreach will be approached, including the “Minority Landowner” magazine and the “National Black Farmers Association” periodicals to determine if our research would be of interest to their stakeholders.
The network will be further increased after acceptance of the project idea. Recruitment of collaborators will occur within our professional networks and from the projects identified in the CRIS and AFRI reporting systems for forest health projects.
The project will be governed by a Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. A one-year term will occur for each position and recruitment will occur from among our participants. An Executive Committee will consist of these positions. Leadership will rotate annually--the Vice Chair will become Chair, the Secretary will become Vice Chair, and a new Secretary will be elected. Elections will occur at the annual meeting. Annual meetings will either be hosted by the current Chair, or will be held at national meeting convenient to most participants (e.g., Society of American Foresters). The location of meetings will be planned three years in advance so that the current Secretary will be aware when elected of the expectation to host a meeting. Project members will decide at the first annual meeting if objective coordinators are needed for each of the three objectives. If so, objective coordinators will be selected at that meeting for at least a two-year term and will be added to the project Executive Committee.
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