Landscape Change Research Group

The Landscape Change Research Group specializes in creating ecological assessments and projections using large amounts of biological, climatic, and terrain data with statistical models and geographic information systems (GIS).


The scientists of the Landscape Change Research Group (LCRG) create original research as well as valuable tools and data sets for resource managers and decision makers. The LCRG works closely with the rest of NIACS to effectively deliver relevant information to land managers, collect valuable feedback from users of LCRG products, address information needs for forest adaptation, and inspire new research. The LCRG also takes advantage of local opportunities, working directly with scientists and managers to inform land management decisions in Ohio.

"Thank you Matt for the quick follow up last week with the newer data and links. I’m sorry I missed that publication last year as I usually try to keep up with developments in the Atlas since we use it so much."

-  Melissa Spearing, Seed Program Coordinator, Forest Gene Conservation Association



4 members of LCRG standing together

The Climate Change Atlas remains one of the Forest Service’s most widely used models of climate impacts on forests, with more than 713,000 page views in the last year. Building on major accomplishments in 2019, the LCRG continues to update the Climate Change Atlas website with newer species models. The team updated their core modeling effort, using the DISTRIB-II and SHIFT models on 125 tree species in the eastern US to produce a wide array of tabular data and maps projecting species responses to future conditions. These data are also summarized for national forests and parks, watersheds, ecoregions, urban areas, states, and various regions.

The LCRG remains a busy and productive research group,  publishing 13 journal articles and giving 12 scientific presentations this past year. We continue to work with the Ohio Interagency Forestry Team and Wayne National Forest (WNF) on promoting oak-dominated forests in the 17-county project area of a USDA Joint Chiefs’ Restoration Partnership. We provide support on the WNF plan revision and implementation of the Ohio Interagency Forestry Team Five-Year Business Plan.





The LCRG is working to incorporate the most recent modeling results into a new version of the Climate Change Atlas website. The LCRG will continue to publish new research, update the Bird Atlas, explore drought risk, and continue cross-boundary coordination and modeling with Canadian researchers. The LCRG is extending their work westward (west of the 100th meridian) using the FIA data to prepare  demographic maps for more than 330 tree species and creating additional information at 1×1 degree grids for the conterminous US. In addition, the LCRG are working with the North American Silvics Planning committee to assist with the release of a newer version of the Silvics Manual.


2020 Fast Facts

13 scientific publications authored or co-authored

215000+ Atlas web page users

93 citations per month over the past 18 months on Google Scholar

713,000+ Pageviews on the Atlas websites  this Fiscal year