Public Release: 

Impact of extreme winter weather on hardwood forests

Why ice storms aren't cool presentation reveals study results

American Society of Agronomy

If you've ever slipped and fallen ice, you're probably not a fan of ice storms. Or perhaps you've lost trees or branches from the heavy ice coating. Ice storms can have devastating results for trees in forests, too. New research studied the effects of lab-created ice storms on forest ecosystems.

The "Why Ice Storms Aren't Cool" presentation at the Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL, will address this important topic. The presentation will be held Monday, October 23, 2017, 9:55 AM. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

"Ice storms are a common disturbance in north temperate and boreal forests worldwide," says presenter Lindsey Rustad. Rustad is a researcher with the USDA Forest Service in New Hampshire.

"They are major causes of disruption in towns, cities, and forests; we expect them to be more frequent and more severe with climate change," says Rustad. "And, scientifically, we don't know much about them. There hasn't been a lot of research about the short- and long-term effects of ice storms on the forest-on forest health, vegetation growth, wildlife, how nutrients like carbon and nitrogen cycle in the system. The more we understand about ice storms, the more people can identify risks and have plans for what to do after, like planning for salvage cuts. Many land managers say they were caught off guard by the big ice storm of 1998. This research will help answer questions about how forests respond naturally to big ice storm disturbances."

Rustad's research is a long-term study using multiple approaches to determine results. It combines data about created lab ice storms with climate modeling work.

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For more information about the 2017 meeting, visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/. Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Oct. 10, 2017 is required. Visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/media for registration information. For information about the "Why Ice Storms Aren't Cool" presentation, visit https://scisoc.confex.com/crops/2017am/webprogram/Paper106248.html.

To speak with one of the scientists, contact Susan V. Fisk, 608-273-8091, sfisk@sciencesocieties.org to arrange an interview.

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