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Individual Highlight

ForWarn Provides New Insight into Duration and Impacts of Forest Disturbances

Photo of ForWarn allowed researchers and managers to monitor the magnitude (left) and duration (right) of damage from the 2015 gypsy moth outbreak in Pennsylvania. For every map cell, duration of the disturbance over the growing season is shown as the number of Map images courtesy of ForWarn. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.ForWarn allowed researchers and managers to monitor the magnitude (left) and duration (right) of damage from the 2015 gypsy moth outbreak in Pennsylvania. For every map cell, duration of the disturbance over the growing season is shown as the number of Map images courtesy of ForWarn. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Since its inception in 2010, the ForWarn system has provided weekly maps that illustrate disturbance across the nation's forests. ForWarn researchers have recently developed a new seasonal forest monitoring product that provides insight into how long disturbances last. The new products distinguish between ephemeral (short-lived) disturbances and lasting disturbances.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Hargrove, William 
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1101

Summary

Quantifying the magnitude of a disturbance to forest vegetation is of primary importance in forest health monitoring; however, the duration, or how long that disturbance lasts, is equally important for determining the full impact to vegetation health. Determining how much of a threat disturbances pose to forest plants is critical, but knowing how long a particular disturbance lasts is equally important. To provide insight into disturbance duration, ForWarn researchers have developed a new seasonal forest monitoring product that distinguishes ephemeral (short-lived) disturbances from lasting disturbances. For example, storms, insect defoliations, and light fires are common in the early growing season, but sometimes trees can quickly grow new leaves, causing even the most extreme damage to diminish by mid-summer. Where damage involves more than the leaves, effects can be more lasting. The new ForWarn disturbance duration products are designed to measure those nuances, as well as help forest managers see past lingering obstacles to satellite imagery, such as persistent cloud cover. ForWarn researchers currently produce disturbance duration products three times during each growing season.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center
  • NASA Stennis Space Center
  • U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center
  • University of North Carolina Asheville National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center

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