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WWETAC: Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center


Issue

Forest and rangeland wildlands of the western United States are vulnerable to environmental stresses and disturbances such as fire, insect infestation, disease, invasive species, drought, and development. These stresses, alone or in combination, can have significant and long-lasting effects on ecological and socioeconomic values. Wildland managers need state-of-the-art information and tools that help them anticipate and solve such problems.

Response

The Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC), a research, development, and applications unit of Pacific Northwest Research Station, was created in 2005 to predict, detect, and assess existing and potential environmental threats to western wildlands. Syntheses, models, and application tools will be developed and shared about wildfire risks, fuels management, climate change impacts, exotic invasives and native outbreaks, and how these threats are translated across the landscape. Interdisciplinary and cross-boundary analyses are also conducted, such as understanding human perceptions of fire risk, or conducting and combining socioeconomic and biophysical vulnerability assessments. WWETAC is in Prineville, Oregon, co-located with the Ochoco National Forest headquarters. Our sister center, the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC), based in Asheville, North Carolina, is focused on similar environmental threats in the eastern U.S.

Mission and Objectives

The mission of the Center is to generate and integrate knowledge and information to provide credible prediction, early detection, and quantitative assessment of environmental threats in the western United States. The goal of WWETAC is to inform policy and support the management of environmental threats to western wildlands. The objectives of WWETAC are to:

  • Evaluate the effects and consequences of multiple, interacting stresses on western wildland health.
  • Increase knowledge of the risks, uncertainties, and benefits of multiple environmental stresses on western ecological conditions and socioeconomic values.
  • Provide science-based decision-support tools for policy formulation and land management in the western United States.
  • Provide land managers with credible predictions of potential severe disturbances in the West with sufficient warning for managers to take preventive actions.

Partners

WWETAC is jointly funded and run by the three deputy areas of the Forest Service: the National Forest System, State and Private Forestry, and the Pacific Northwest Research Station. We have a small permanent staff, but benefit from a large number of federal and university analysts and scientists. Our cooperators include resource specialists and land managers from the western Forest Service regions (1-6, 10), scientists from the three western Research Stations of the Forest Service, many of the western universities, and a number of agencies (e.g., NASA, USGS, NPS).

Who benefits:

  • Federal, state, tribal, and private land managers
  • Policymakers
  • Landowners
  • Communities
  • Federal, state, county, and community watershed and forest planners

PNW Research Station Contact:

Nancy Grulke, Director, Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center
Phone: (541) 416-6583
E-mail: ngrulke@fs.fed.us

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WWETAC Trees

Wildlands (forests and rangelands) of the western United States are vulnerable to environmental stresses and disturbances such as fire, insect infestation, disease, invasive species, drought, and development.

3160 NE Third St, Prineville, OR 97754 P: 541-416-6618 F: 541-416-6693