Emerging themes in the ecology and management of North American forests
The 7th North American Forest Ecology Workshop, consisting of 149 presentations in 16 oral sessions and a poster session, reflected a broad range of topical areas currently under investigation in forest ecology and management. There was an overarching emphasis on the role of disturbance, both natural and anthropogenic, in the dynamics of forest ecosystems, and the recognition that legacies from past disturbances strongly influence future trajectories. Climate was invoked as a major driver of ecosystem change. An emphasis was placed on application of research findings for predicting system responses to changing forest management initiatives. Several “needs” emerged from the discussions regarding approaches to the study of forest ecosystems, including (1) consideration of variable spatial and temporal scales, (2) long-term monitoring, (3) development of universal databases more encompassing of time and space to facilitate meta-analyses, (4) combining field studies and modeling approaches, (5) standardizing methods of measurement and assessment, (6) guarding against oversimplification or over generalization from limited site-specific results, (7) greater emphasis on plant-animal interactions, and (8) better alignment of needs and communication of results between researchers and managers.