WWETAC Projects

Project Title: National environmental threat assessment maps

Principal Investigator: Ken Brewer, USDA Forest Service, Remote Sensing Applications Center, Salt Lake City, UT


Collaborators: Terry Shaw, USDA Forest Service (USDA-FS), Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, Prineville, OR; Bill Hargrove, USDA-FS, Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, Asheville, NC; Eric Smith, USDA-FS Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, Fort Collins, CO; Ron Neilson, USDA-FS Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, OR

Key Issues/Problems Addressed:

Extensive data exist regarding multiple environmental threats on a national scale, yet these wide-ranging data are often not in a relevant format for strategic decision-making. Accessible geographically comprehensive and spatially explicit data (i.e., maps) are needed to aid integrated approaches to multi-level strategic forest planning.

Setting and Approach:

Existing geospatial products were adapted to create a set of environmental threat maps on a national scale. Analysis was limited to forested areas on the 48 contiguous states. Available geospatial datasets used for threat mapping included: insect & disease risk, wildland fire potential, and road density.  Mapping efforts explored these three threats and assessed cumulative threat variables.  These variables were summarized according to three geographic units: county, watershed and EMAP hexagon (Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program).

Key Findings:

A lack of continuous, nationally consistent datasets remains a limiting factor in generating accurate national threat assessment maps. 


A preliminary assembly of consistent/continuous nationwide data sets and sample map analyses of joint threat assessments were developed and made available for environmental threat analyses.

 WWETAC Project ID:  FY08TS45