In the News
The November 2012 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine features the ForWarn forest monitoring tool in an article, "Forest Management from Space." Landscape Architecture Magazine is the American Society of Landscape Architects' monthly publication. Read the article...
The Forest Service has released the 2010 Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, which includes contributions from Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Kurt Riitters. Kurt assessed the fragmentation and landscape of US forest, grass, and shrub lands, and provided summaries of forest areas that qualified as protected land under International Union for Conservation of Nature criteria. His research can be found on pages 34-44 and 49. Every ten years, the RPA provides reliable information on the status, trends, and projected future of the nation's renewable resources. The assessment is a useful reference for congressional staffers and federal and non-federal agencies and organizations interested in forest trends. Read more in CompassLive.
Connecting Cultures, the Southern Research Station's (SRS) Civil Rights Committee newsletter, highlights Eastern Threat Center activities in the fall 2012 issue. Through internships, forestry research tours, family-friendly events, and more, Center scientists and staff engage with a range of students and other diverse audiences throughout the year.
The Fall 2012 issue of National Woodlands magazine features the Eastern Threat Center in a cover story about Center tools and technology useful to forest landowners. National Woodlands magazine is published by the National Woodland Owners Association to promote the wise use of America's forest resources. Read the article, and learn more about the National Woodland Owners Association.
Blogs featured by the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (SALCC) highlight Eastern Threat Center research, tools, and communication efforts. Visit the SALCC website to learn more about the SALCC and read about the role of TACCIMO (Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options) in National Forest planning in California, dam mapping efforts, and the changing world of science communication.
EFETAC research ecologist Kurt Riitters and collaborators from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development and the European Commission Joint Research Centre are recipients of an EPA Level III Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (STAA). Their paper, "A national assessment of green infrastructure and change for the conterminous United States using morphological image processing," was recognized as an unusually notable research or technological effort in the category of Sustainability and Innovation as part of the EPA's 2011 STAA competition. A subcommittee of EPA's Science Advisory Board judged the competition, and the award certificate, co-signed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the Acting Assistant Administrator for Research and Development Lek Kadeli, honors the collaborators' development of models for temporal analysis of green infrastructure dynamics in support of sustainable communities.
The Eastern and Western Threat Centers' ForWarn team is among the agency recipients of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer's (FLC) 2013 Interagency Partnership Award. The award recognizes the collaborative efforts of federal laboratory employees for outstanding work in technology transfer, and is one of the highest honors from FLC. Award recipients, including the Forest Service ForWarn team and collaborators from NASA Stennis Space Center, Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Department of Interior US Geological Survey, will be honored during a ceremony in April 2013. Congratulations to Bill Hargrove (EFETAC ForWarn lead researcher) and the entire interagency ForWarn team!
Each year, the Southern Research Station (SRS) Director honors employees for significant achievements in research, support, and outreach efforts. During an October ceremony, SRS Director Rob Doudrick presented awards in eleven categories to SRS scientists and staff, including three awards presented to EFETAC team members:
Steve McNulty, Distinguished Science Award - For distinguished scientific leadership and contributions on the effects of climate change and other ecosystem stresses for the benefit of both science and resource management
ForWarn team, Science Delivery Award (accepted by Bill Hargrove on behalf of the 16-member multi-agency team) - For exceptional creativity and performance in development and deployment of the ForWarn Forest Disturbance Monitoring Tool
Perdita Spriggs, Partnership Award - For outstanding contributions to the SRS partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Nature Research Center
Congratulations to all the award recipients!
EFETAC research ecologist Kurt Riitters attended the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Landscape Ecology Working Group conference in Chile, held November 5-12, to present an invited paper and to discuss current research projects with colleagues from Italy and Canada. During the conference, the Working Group announced a new organization and new Officers, and Kurt was selected as Deputy Working Group Coordinator for North America. In his role as a Deputy, Kurt will ensure good communications with Working Group members in North America, help organize future Working Group conferences and symposia, and assist the Working Group Chair in other matters. The Working Group will organize one or more symposia at the next IUFRO World Congress (Salt Lake City, 2014) and will hold its next Working Group conference in Estonia (2015).
U.S. Forest Service and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists have found that rising levels of ozone, a greenhouse gas, may amplify the impacts of higher temperatures and reduce streamflow from forests to rivers, streams, and other water bodies. Such effects could potentially reduce water supplies available to support forest ecosystems and people in the southeastern United States. Read more...
Among its vast collection of educational resources and tools for land managers and decision makers, the Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) website features original content summarizing natural resource issues affected by a changing climate. EFETAC ecologists Frank Koch and Qin Guo partnered with other Forest Service researchers to co-author new peer-reviewed papers that appear in the CCRC's "Climate Change Topics" section. The papers provide introductory information about issues of concern and are accompanied by useful links and recommendations for additional reading. Read the papers, "Forest Tree Diseases and Climate Change" and "Climate Change and Invasive Plants in Forests and Rangelands," and learn more about the CCRC.
The September/October issue of Fire Lines, the Southern Fire Exchange newsletter, includes the Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options (TACCIMO) as a featured online tool. The TACCIMO feature serves as a preview to a workshop that will be held as part of the International Association of Wildland Fire's 4th International Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference. The goal of the TACCIMO workshop is to familiarize participants with the TACCIMO tool through guided case studies focusing on the effects of climate change on fire and fuel management in the southern United States. Read the newsletter, and learn more about the conference and workshops.
The Southern Research Station (SRS) was a co-sponsor of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences 16th annual Bugfest event held September 15 in Raleigh, NC. More than 35,000 participants showed up early and stayed late to enjoy fun-filled "buggy" entertainment, activities, and cuisine. The Station's exhibit, "Bad Bugs in the Forest," and SRS researchers engaged festival-goers in Forest Service research addressing invasive pest concerns, including the hemlock woolly adelgid, Sirex woodwasp, Asian long-horned beetle, and emerald ash borer. Smokey Bear's cameo appearance delighted the young and young-at-heart, sharing his timeless "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires" stance. His message was reinforced through special reusable activity bags designed for school-aged students, including the Forest Service's popular middle school science journal, the Natural Inquirer. Bugfest is the nation's largest family-friendly event that explores the world of insects and other arthropods. Read more about Bugfest in CompassLive.
An online Conservation Magazine article, entitled "What's Inside That Counts," summarizes results from a study led by EFETAC research ecologist Kurt Riitters. Researchers analyzed forest loss and gain throughout the lower 48 United States between 2001 and 2006 and discovered a net loss of forest land—with a significantly greater area of interior forest lost compared to total forest area lost. Interior forest loss due to fragmentation threatens the sustainability of biological communities and ecosystem services that require large areas of intact forest land. Read the Conservation Magazine article, and learn more about this study from the Southern Research Station's CompassLive science log.
Students from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, recently toured carbon and water research sites near Plymouth, North Carolina. EFETAC biological scientists Michael Gavazzi and Emrys Treasure (pictured center and third from left, respectively) led the tour where students learned about different pine management operations employed at the sites and EFETAC's role in studying the impact of forest management and climate on carbon and water budgets and allocations. While the students' educations focus primarily on urban forestry, they were familiar with the economic importance of loblolly pine in the South and the scientific instruments used at the research site. The trip was part of a research grant to bring climate change awareness to Southern University students and better prepare them to enter environmental science-related fields.
The Forest Service sponsored a poster display area and map competition as part of the map gallery at the 2012 Esri International User Conference, which brought together a variety of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professionals. Among the Forest Service winners were EFETAC biological scientist Bill Christie and ecologists Bill Hargrove and Steve Norman. Their poster entitled "The Tornado Outbreak of April, 2011 recorded by the USDA Forest Service's ‘Forest Change Assessment Viewer,'" which highlighted tornado disturbance maps and the satellite-based ForWarn tool, received the Best Communication Product/Output award. View the poster, and read more about the conference, map gallery, and other winning entries.
Serra Hoagland (left), EFETAC biological scientist and doctoral student at Northern Arizona University, serves as a point of contact for Southern Research Station (SRS) Tribal Relations initiatives. In this role, Serra supports efforts to coordinate SRS engagement with tribal governments and members. As the Forest Service develops a strategic plan for tribal research, Serra will participate in discussions to develop research and tools to support tribal needs. Serra is Laguna Pueblo and serves on numerous local, regional, and national American Indian organizations including the Intertribal Timber Council, the American Indian Science & Engineering Society, and the Native Peoples Wildlife Management Working Group.
Two EFETAC staff members are among several Southern Research Station scientists selected to serve as committee liaisons to the Southern Group of State Foresters. Steve Norman (ecologist) and Bill Christie (biological scientist) will gauge information needs and share research as part of the Forest Fire & Protection and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) committees, respectively. Their contributions will support the Southern Group of State Foresters whose mission is to provide leadership in sustaining the economic, environmental, and social benefits of the South's forests.
EFETAC research ecologist Frank Koch (left) co-organized the International Pest Risk Mapping Workgroup meeting, which was held in July. Pest risk mapping professionals from around the world gathered in Tromsø, Norway, to address the challenges of climate change, economics, and uncertainty in assessing alien pest invasion risk and impacts to the food chain. Read more in CompassLive, the Southern Research Station's online science log.
A new brochure for North Carolina land owners and managers provides information about potential forest threats and fundamental forestry practices that promote more resilient forests. "North Carolina's Emerging Forest Threats: Management Options for Healthy Forests" is based on information summarized from the Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options (TACCIMO). EFETAC staff members who develop content for the TACCIMO tool produced the brochure in collaboration with the North Carolina Forest Service with input from North Carolina State University's Extension Forestry Program and Southern Regional Extension Forestry. The North Carolina Forest Service will distribute 3,000 copies of the brochure to land owners and managers. Visit the North Carolina Forest Service website to view the brochure.
Forest and Grassland Carbon in North America: a short course for land managers is now available on DVD and online through the USDA Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC). The course features 15 presentations that provide public and private land managers with information on the science, management, and policy of forest and grassland carbon. Additionally, the course provides access to resources and recommended reading related to course topics including the carbon cycle and the role of ecosystems, carbon and wildland management, and carbon assessments and markets. The CCRC is a joint project of the Forest Service Research Stations, EFETAC, and the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center. Visit the CCRC website to order the DVD or view the course online.
EFETAC scientists use ForWarn, a satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool, to detect and track potential forest disturbances across the lower 48 United States. When ecologists Bill Hargrove and Steve Norman discovered an area of unusual forest activity within the Asheville, NC, watershed, they reported the findings to the Asheville Water Resources Department and visited the watershed to investigate. Read more about their discovery in CompassLive, the Southern Research Station's online science log.
EFETAC scientists have enhanced the Water Supply Stress Index (WaSSI) model with a new web interface and mapping tool to help resource managers, planners, and other decision makers evaluate the balances and tradeoffs between water availability and carbon sequestration in the lower 48 United States and Mexico. WaSSI users can select from a variety of future climate scenarios, and adjust temperature, precipitation, land cover, and water use factors to simulate an unlimited number of global change scenarios for any timeframe from 1961 through the year 2100. Simulation results are available as downloadable graphs, maps, and data files that users can save and apply to their unique information and project needs. Learn more about WaSSI.
An article in the June/July 2012 issue of The Appalachian Voice discusses climate change impacts on high-elevation spruce-fir forests in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. In the article, EFETAC ecologist and team leader Steve McNulty summarizes research in forests around Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina that revealed additional interacting threats to these unique ecosystems and the resulting challenges of forest management decision making. Read the article, "Last Stand for the Southern Spruce-Fir?"
The web-based Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options (TACCIMO), which connects climate change science with natural resource management, has reached a milestone. TACCIMO's scientific literature database now contains 3,000 unique quotations describing the effects of climate change supported by almost 800 adaptive management options to support land owners, managers, and planners in decision making. In addition to this expanded peer-reviewed content, TACCIMO features new and improved case studies to demonstrate use of the tool. Examples include science assessments for Forest Service land and management planning as well as other federal, state, and private forest and natural resource management uses. TACCIMO's development is a collaborative effort among the Forest Service's Eastern and Western Environmental Threat Assessment Centers, National Forest System, and State and Private Forestry. Begin exploring TACCIMO.
CompassLive, the Southern Research Station's online science log, provides posts about a variety of research taking place in the southern United States and beyond. Recent posts highlighting efforts involving EFETAC staff and cooperating scientists include "Saving the Genetic Treasures of Southern Forests," "Trees in Transition," "Partnership Webinar Highlights TACCIMO," "Climate Change Invasions," and "CRAFTing Future Forests." Visit the CompassLive website to read more.
Following the discovery of the emerald ash borer in Tennessee, EFETAC research ecologist Frank Koch discusses the possibility of the insect invading North Carolina and offers practical advice for concerned homeowners in an article appearing in the Asheville Citizen-Times. Read the article that was published on June 11, 2012.
The Wildlife Society selected EFETAC biological scientist Serra Hoagland to participate in its 2012 Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute involves distance learning, hands-on projects, intensive mentoring activities, and leadership workshops for early-career wildlife professionals. The Wildlife Society is a non-profit scientific and educational association of nearly 11,000 professional wildlife biologists and managers, dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education. Read the news release.
Space News, a publication for commercial space, military space, and satellite communication businesses, featured the ForWarn monitoring and assessment tool and NASA's role in its development. Read the article, "NASA Satellites Help Forewarn U.S. Forest Service of Trouble."
EFETAC ecologist Bill Hargrove discussed the ForWarn monitoring and assessment tool during the March 2012 edition of the Capital Ideas--Live! news conference. A recording of the news conference, sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc., is available.
EFETAC and its sister Center, the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, recently unveiled a product that helps natural resource managers rapidly detect, identify, and respond to unexpected changes in the nation's forests by using web-based tools. ForWarn, a satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool, recognizes and tracks potential forest disturbances caused by insects, diseases, wildfires, extreme weather, or other natural or human-caused events. The tool complements and focuses efforts of existing forest monitoring programs and potentially results in time and cost savings. Read more...
Extensive ongoing research on biotic invasions around the world constantly increases data availability and improves data quality. New research in the United States shows how using improved data from previous studies on the establishment of exotic plant species changes the understanding of patterns of species naturalization, biological invasions, and their underlying mechanisms. The study was published in the open access journal NeoBiota. Read more...
The Southern Research Station's new online science log, CompassLive, provides posts about a variety of research taking place in the southern United States and beyond. Recent posts featuring EFETAC research include "UCS Uses EFETAC Tool to Analyze Power Plant Impacts on Water," "People and Plants On the Move," and "A ForWarning." Visit the CompassLive website to read more.