Forest ThreatNet

Volume 1, Issue 1 - Fall 2007

University Expertise Expands Database Development

EFETAC and NEMAC explore high-tech data management


NEMAC logoEmerging threats ….Complex databases ….Information management…. All key components in EFETAC’s road to becoming a “resource of choice” throughout the environmental threats community. And who better to partner with than University of North Carolina Asheville’s National University of North Carolina AshevilleEnvironmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), a local resource with nationally recognized expertise in environmental modeling, web technology, and database development. NEMAC and EFETAC joined forces early on, working seamlessly with the Southern Regional Extention Forestry (based at the University of Georgia) to begin development of the Center’s interactive Web site.

Part of the dynamic University of North Carolina system, NEMAC was designed as a model for university, government, and private sector research. Open dialogue is maintained with faculty and student researchers in addition to administrators and staff from other universities, government agencies, commercial businesses, and non-profit organizations. Collaborative ventures are the focal point of NEMAC efforts, working with local, State, and Federal officials to become an integral component of the environmental modeling and economic development planning process.

NEMAC’s success in building the Time Integrated Random Access NEXRAD Database (TIRAND) made partnership with EFETAC a natural fit. TIRAND, created in part by UNC Asheville professor Dr. Joe Brownsmith, allows users to automatically search millions of weather data archives from the National Climatic Data Center.

NEMAC’s multidisciplinary team – specializing in geographic information systems, databases, and Web integration – is creating user-friendly tools for EFETAC to share with scientists, forest managers, policy makers, and the general public. Collaborative deliverables include –

•Assessing and compiling information and data needs for integrated environmental risk assessments.

•Helping to develop the infrastructure (equipment and software) needed for high-speed access, sharing and analysis of relevant environmental and socioeconomic databases.

•Designing data-synthesis, mining and analysis tools to meet specific information needs.

•Improving end-user capabilities and expertise for comparative risk assessment with the further development of the Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT).

•Providing a central point of coordination and contact for numerous EFETAC partners.

Ultimately, NEMAC’s goal is to assist EFETAC in creating a database of forest threats data, accessible from anywhere in the world.

NEMAC is also host for Chocolate Fridays – biweekly scientific research sharing sessions held during the spring and fall semesters at the Asheville Convention and Visitors Center that stimulate collaborations among universities, government agencies, commercial businesses, and non-profit organizations.


For additional information, please contact Jim Fox (center), NEMAC Director of Operations, jfox@unca.edu, (828) 301-2075; Karin Lichtenstein (far right), Project Manager, klichten@unca.edu, (828) 250- 3892; or Bridget O’Hara (far left), Communications Specialist, bohara@unca.edu, (828) 250-3882.

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