Forest ThreatNet

Volume 4, Issue 1 - Winter 2011

Rapid Risk Mapping Helps Managers Assess Emerging Eastern Forest Threat

Center Highlights


Walnut twig beetle - Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.orgEFETAC biometrician Bill Smith and cooperating North Carolina State University researcher Frank Koch were recognized by Forest Service Southern Regional Forest Health Protection (FHP) staff for swiftly producing maps projecting the preliminary risk of Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD). This devastating disease of black walnut trees—first discovered in the eastern United States last August in Tennessee—is caused by a fungus spread by the walnut twig beetle. Having previously modeled the spread of laurel wilt disease, also a fungus similarly carried by a beetle, Smith and Koch had a straightforward process for developing spread risk maps for TCD over the entire range of black walnut. During a crowded training session last fall, FHP plant pathologist Bill Jones presented the maps to Tennessee state and county foresters and spoke about the regional threat of TCD and potential for natural spread versus human-assisted movement. The training session participants later expressed appreciation for effective risk communication, including the methods used for generating the maps. “I felt this was a great exercise in quick cooperation. We developed a product that can help focus pest monitoring and management activities for the next five to 30 years,” says Jones. For more information about the TCD risk maps, contact Bill Jones at

Above: Thousand Cankers Disease results from a fungus (Geosmithia sp.) carried by the walnut twig beetle. Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

EFETAC Scientists Demonstrate Tool for International Users

WaSSI workshopInternational audiences are seeing firsthand how EFETAC’s Water Supply Stress Index-Carbon and Biodiversity (WaSSI-CB) model can help assess climate change and land management impacts on carbon sequestration, water availability, and biological diversity. In 2010, Forest Service International Programs provided support for EFETAC ecologist Steve McNulty, research hydrologist Ge Sun, and resource information specialist Erika Cohen to conduct two workshops in Mexico City to introduce land managers and researchers to WaSSI-CB and demonstrate how the model could be implemented to address natural resource challenges in Mexico. Following the first workshop, the EFETAC scientists obtained data on water flows and basins, climate, soil, carbon, biodiversity, and forest cover in Mexico, which were incorporated into the WaSSI-CB model. McNulty, Sun, and Cohen have since been invited to play a role in watershed assessment and conservation projects in east Africa being conducted by International Programs in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Wildlife Conservation Society, and several U.S. universities. The trio will travel to Rwanda, Zambia, and Tanzania to meet with project partners and stakeholders, present an overview of WaSSI-CB, and identify databases for use in the assessment projects. WaSSI-CB will be used to quantify potential impacts of land use practices on water quantity and quality as part of an effort to develop economic incentives for conserving watershed ecosystem services. WaSSI-CB will be accessible through a new online interface in mid-2011. For more information, contact McNulty at, or visit

Above: Ge Sun (left) and Erika Cohen (center) demonstrate the WaSSI-CB model for a Mexico City workshop participant.

Events Boost EFETAC Science Delivery and Technology Transfer

Themed conferences, workshops, and other gatherings provide opportunities for EFETAC scientists and staff to share information and tools with a wide range of interest groups, stakeholders, and collaborators. In 2011, EFETAC’s research will be represented through presentations, posters, informational booths, and hands-on demonstrations at a variety of events, including:

• USDA Interagency Research Forum on Invasive Species

• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling workshop

Minority Landowner magazine conference

• Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools workshops

• U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology symposium

• Society of American Foresters’ National Workshop on Climate and Forests

• Fire in Eastern Oaks conference

More events information involving EFETAC can be found at

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