Forest ThreatNet

Volume 4, Issue 1 - Winter 2011

Message from the Director

(This issue’s Director’s Message is written by Huai-Min Zhang, physical scientist with NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC. He was detailed to EFETAC from November 2010 to February 2011.) 

John Zhang.JPG It has been a pleasure to work with the Southern Research Station (SRS) and Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center for the past four months. This cross-agency assignment will be a highlight in my 18-month leadership development program, sponsored by the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). I began my detail wondering how the Forest Service and other agencies use climate data and information. I soon learned about the Station and Center’s research activities as well as the newly formed Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Climate Science Centers. With so many climate science activities and initiatives, it is extremely important to find effective ways to collaborate by leveraging expertise and strengths in order to maximize benefits while minimizing resource requirements. I am glad that, by working together, we have taken small steps toward a larger regional and national goal. Among these efforts is the grassroots, multiple-organization “Thirsty Thursday” Environmental Science Seminar series, organized to exchange knowledge and collaborative ideas. Visit for more details.

I am very impressed by the exciting science being conducted by EFETAC researchers and cooperators, including the science-based cohesive wildfire management strategy; the national Early Warning System; the Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools for decision support; invasive and other plant species and climate change; the Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options for land management planning; the Water Supply Stress Index - Carbon and Biodiversity model to assess potential impacts of changes in climate, land use, and population on the ecosystems; and the Forest Health Monitoring research to determine forest trends and genetic diversity.

Connecting science and technology to societal benefits and decision and policy making is an important component of a government research agency. EFETAC does an excellent job translating science and technical results into publically understandable terms. The newly established Technical User Group will act as a catalyst in this science delivery process. Leaving the beautiful SRS campus is difficult, but the “Thirsty Thursdays” seminars will give me a legitimate reason to come back from time to time. See you then …

Huai-Min Zhang

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