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Individual Highlight

ForWarn Monitors Forests Coast-to-Coast

ForWarn forest change image: blue indicates normal forest conditions compared to the previous year and green to red indicates moderate to extreme vegetative change. Forest ServiceSnapshot : Web-based tool provides a weekly snapshot of U.S. forest conditions to aid forest managers

Principal Investigators(s) :
Hargrove, William 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 132


To help forest and natural resource managers rapidly detect, identify, and respond to unexpected changes in the Nation's forests, scientists with the Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center and the Pacific Northwest Research Station Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center developed ForWarn, a monitoring and assessment tool that produces sets of national maps showing potential forest disturbances every 8 days. This tool posts the results to the Internet for scientists and natural resource managers to examine.

ForWarn compares current forest vegetation greenness with the normal greenness that would be expected for healthy vegetation for a specific location and day of the year, and then identifies areas that appear less green than expected. This tool provides a strategic national overview of potential forest disturbances that can focus and direct ground and aircraft observation efforts and resources.

ForWarn is the first national-scale system of its kind that was developed specifically for responding to forest disturbances. It has operated since January 2010 and has provided useful information about the location and extent of disturbances—including tornadoes, wildfires, and extreme drought. Eastern and Western Threat Center scientists released ForWarn in March 2012, followed by a series of online training sessions attended by nearly 60 early adopter State and Federal forest managers. ForWarn is the result of ongoing cooperation among Federal and university partners and can be accessed at

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Forest Health Monitoring Program
  • Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center
  • NASA Stennis Space Center
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • USGS EROS Data Center
  • University of North Carolina Asheville's National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center