Forest ThreatNet

Volume 10, Issue 5 - Nov. / Dec. 2016

NASA Earth Observatory Features ForWarn and Hemlock Decline

Dead trees in Linville Gorge, NCThe Eastern Threat Center ForWarn team's efforts to monitor hemlock decline in the southern Appalachian mountains have caught the attention of NASA Earth Observatory, whose mission is to share images, stories, and discoveries emerging from NASA research. Its 'Image of the Day' post for November 15, "Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests," describes the hemlock woolly adelgid's threat to hemlock forests and features a map that uses ForWarn data showing the non-native invasive insect's impacts near Mount Mitchell in western North Carolina. The post also features a photo of dead hemlocks* in Pisgah National Forest by Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Steve Norman. ForWarn's satellite-based monitoring system provides weekly maps of changes in vegetation greenness, known as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, from data collected by NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. Staff from NASA Stennis Space Center's Applied Science & Technology Project Office, along with other federal and university partners, have contributed to ForWarn's development.

*Norman's photos of hemlock woolly adelgid-killed trees are also featured inside and on the cover of the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Forestry.

Pictured: A hemlock woolly adelgid infestation has killed many hemlock trees in the Linville Gorge area of Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. Photo by Steve Norman, U.S. Forest Service.

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