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Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 8, March 6, 2001

Welcome to Research Park Notes! Look for tidbits of information on National Environmental Research Park activities, observations, and users every couple of weeks. To provide newsletter input, request additional information, make comments, or add/delete mailing list names, contact the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Area Manager, Pat Parr.


Research Park User Facility Data - Pat Parr, ORNL

General statistics are requested annually on those who have used the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park User Facility and include user, topic of research, affiliation, and number of days the Research Park was used. The year 2000 stats continue to highlight the importance of this outdoor laboratory for research. During 2000, there were 245 Research Park users representing more than 50 educational, governmental, or other agencies. This is up from 116 users in 1999. Users of the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park were on the reservation for a total of more than 3,600 days (up from 2,430 in 1999). The largest number of users were from colleges and universities all across the country (134), but government agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Environmental Sciences Division, and others, also had a large number (90). User reports for ORNL’s User Facilities are compiled for fiscal years (e.g., FY 2000 was from October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2000).

Responses of Mature Forest Trees to Ozone and Climate - Sandy McLaughlin and Stan Wullschleger, Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL

This research deploys high resolution, automated measurement systems to measure growth responses of mature forest trees to a changing climate, including variations in both the air pollutant ozone (O3) and other climatic variables. The latter includes temperature, solar radiation, soil moisture, and relative humidity. The research is employing high resolution dendrometers to precisely measure small changes in growth that can be statistically analyzed to evaluate how chemical and physical climate influence short- to intermediate-term growth rates. Species examined to date include two of the most important commercial forest species in the Southeast, loblolly pine and yellow poplar. In addition, measurements in the Free Air CO2 Experiment (FACE) are providing new insights into the influences of elevated CO2 on growth patterns of sweet gum. The Oak Ridge Reservation provides a secure measurement environment for computerized data collection equipment, as well as diverse forest habitats within which these measurements can be obtained. Research sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Global Change Program. Check the web for more information on the Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Facility:


Forestry Management Actions - Dennis Bradburn, Oak Ridge Reservation Forester

Southern Pine Beetle

Some of the recent pine salvage work on the reservation is more visible as the cutting occurs along Bethel Valley and Bear Creek Roads. Dennis Bradburn notes that even though the pines being cut are still green, they were infested with the native southern pine bark beetle and were dying. The southern pine bark beetle is a native insect that has killed significant areas of pine across the southeast region over the past year.

Bradburn says, “Most all pine stands on the ORR are infested with southern pine beetle and are dying rapidly. Trees showing red pine needles or those that have already shed their needles do not have any pine beetles in them anymore and most are past the salvageable stage. The active pine beetle broods are in the green trees and they too will soon be turning red. The pine stands along Bethel Valley Road from the east end of the plant to Walker Branch Cove were all green last summer. Now less than half of these stands are still green due to southern pine beetle infestations. In salvage efforts along Bethel Valley Road last summer, we saw most of the trees salvaged in those stands were green with red spots scattered throughout the stands. Now most of the trees in a stand have red needles or no needles with a few "green" patches of trees scattered throughout the stand. Salvage of infested stands is done in accordance with a reservation southern pine beetle action plan. Stands along major thoroughfares, facilities, and utility corridors are a top salvage priority.”


The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park Driving Tour brochure is now on the American Museum of Science and Energy web site: You can also link to it from the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park web site: Now folks have the option to print out their own copy of the map and information--it’s quite nicely done.


March 6, 2001 – Tennessee Chapter, The American Chestnut Foundation, Village Green Clubhouse, Knoxville, Tennessee, 6:30 p.m. (

March 21-23, 2001 – Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2001:  A Weed Odyssey, Athens, Georgia. More info:

April 4-7, 2001 – Association of Southeastern Biologists Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. More info:

April 25-29, 2001 – The 16th Annual Symposium of the U.S. Regional Chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology (US-IALE), Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. More info:

May 29-June 2, 2001 – American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in Boston. Abstracts are due March 8. In addition to its strength in subsurface science and geochemistry, AGU is continuing to expand its focus on biogeoscience and watershed hydrology. Check the web site for more details:

August 5-10, 2001 – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin. More info:

October 3-6, 2001 – Natural Areas Association Annual Conference at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on “Searching for a Natural Balance.” For more information, see

November 26-28, 2001, Southern Forest Science Conference Contributions of Forest Research to Sustainable Forestry, Atlanta, Georgia. More info: or call 828/257-4302.

The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated by the Department of Energy in 1980 and is one of a network of seven National Environmental Research Parks. It is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Facility. The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1989. It is also a unit member of the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve and part of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) Cooperative. More information on the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park can be found on the website at:

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Last Updated: May 4, 2001
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