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“Smart Forests” Digital Environmental Sensors and Telecommunications Take Research to New Levels

Photo of Phenocam and Antenna on top of the pierce laboratory at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH. USDA Forest ServicePhenocam and Antenna on top of the pierce laboratory at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Scientific breakthroughs of the 21st century will be powered by tools that help researchers collect and manipulate massive datasets, visualize that data, and offer new ways of understanding the scientific processes behind that information. Forest Service scientists are taking a lead in developing a national Experimental Forests and Ranges “Smart Forests” Network. This network of wired forests uses digital environmental sensors, wireless communications, and new data visualization programs to create a powerful integrated research and monitoring program for the nation’s air, water, forest and rangeland resources.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Rustad, LindseyCampbell, John
Adams, Mary BethBrissette, John
Hallett, RichardKabrick, John
Kolka, RandyKenefic, Laura S.
Schuler, Thomas M. Sebestyen, Stephen D.
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 881

Summary

The Forest Service’s Experimental Forests and Ranges (EFRs) provide critically needed data on environmental change in natural and managed ecosystems throughout the United States. A new generation of environmental sensors is accelerating scientists’ ability to rapidly collect and transmit these types of data to stakeholders in real time. The Forest Service is investing in this technology to create “Smart Forests,” an integrated research and monitoring program that will be invaluable for rapidly assessing the nation’s air, water, and forest and rangeland resources in the 21st century. Smart Forest technology has been deployed by Forest Service scientists at 10 sites in the Northeast, with more coming on-line in 2016. Key components of the Smart Forest Network include (a) a common suite of sensors for biological, physical, and chemical measurements; (b) real-time data delivery to a single web access point; and (c) interactive data visualizations and content for scientists, educators, and the public. Scientific breakthroughs and natural resource stewardship will be increasingly powered by tools that help researchers manipulate massive datasets, visualize that data, and offer new ways to understand and manage ecosystem change. The Smart Forests program is helping make this technology available to EFR sites across the nation.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Drexel University
  • National Science Foundation
  • University of Maine
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of Southern Maine