Virginia Dale, Dan Druckenbrod,
and Lisa Olsen
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Northern Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee exhibiting a
matrix of hardwood forests, agricultural lands,
This project initiates an integrated-landscape conservation approach within the Northern Cumberlands Project Area in Tennessee and Kentucky. The mixed mesophytic forests within the Northern Cumberland Plateau are among the most diverse in North America; however, these forests have been impacted by and remain threatened from changes in land use across this landscape. These impacts have led conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council to focus on the Cumberland Plateau. The integrated-landscape conservation approach developed in this project for the Northern Plateau can be characterized as a sequence of six conservation steps. This project considers the first three of these steps in two, successive stages. Stage 1 compares desired future conditions (DFCs) and current prevailing conditions (CPCs) at landscape-scale comparison utilizing remote sensing imagery, remnant forests, and descriptions of the extent of historical forest types within the Cumberland Plateau. Subsequently, Stage 2 focuses on at-risk forest types identified in Stage 1 and assesses the gaps between DFCs and CPCs utilizing structural, compositional, or functional attributes of specific forest types. The results from these first three steps will directly contribute to the final three steps of the integrated-landscape conservation approach by providing guidance for the generation of new market-based or policy initiatives in the Northern Cumberland Plateau.
For more details on project approach, please download the following ORNL Report:
Druckenbrod, D.L. and V.H. Dale. 2004. Sustaining the landscape: a method for comparing current and desired future conditions of forest ecosystems in the North Cumberland Plateau and Mountains. ORNL/TM-2004/314. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. 37 pages.
For a map of the project area click here: