Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Anita Walz

Second Advisor

Kevin Law

Third Advisor

James Leonard


In Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia, red spruce grows in high-elevation island ecosystems that are particularly sensitive to changes in climatic conditions. The ecological niche modeling application Maxent was used to project the distribution response of red spruce to climatic change for the purposes of conservation planning. Red spruce distribution data was acquired from the United States Forest Service. Three sets of nineteen bioclimatic variables, corresponding to present, 2050, and 2080 conditions, were derived from 1961-1990 monthly temperature and precipitation means and the IPCC A2 emissions scenario of HadCM3. The modeling revealed rapidly diminishing red spruce habitat suitability from southwest to northeast, while the border region between Randolph and Pendleton Counties displayed consistent suitability over time. Conservation efforts for red spruce should focus in the areas projected to maintain habitat suitability in the longer term, while alternative species planting may be necessary elsewhere to preserve forest integrity.


Monongahela National Forest (W. Va.) -- Ecology.

Red spruce.

Red spruce decline -- West Virginia -- Monongahela National Forest.