Volume 5, Issue 1 - Spring 2012
Message from the Director
A million shades of green. As I watch the annual springtime eruption of wildflowers, shrubs, and trees, this phrase often comes to mind. The eastern deciduous forests are truly amazing in both diversity and productivity, which is never more evident than in the spring. It seems as if the world is draped in green, with more different hues and shades than one could ever count. The profusion of life that heralds the changing seasons is truly one of the wonders of the natural world.
As any gardener knows, the amount and hue of green that one sees also tells a lot about the health and vitality of plants. A quick glance can suggest that plants need water, fertilizer, or perhaps are under siege by insects or pathogens. These same tell-tale signs can work for forests as well—at a scale not imagined by most gardeners. For the past several years, we have worked with NASA and other partners to develop a satellite-based system for watching our nation’s forests, looking for changes in greenness that might suggest either good or bad shifts in productivity or health. This system, known as ForWarn and highlighted on page 4, combines a relatively basic principle with advanced technology to deliver a powerful and user-friendly tool to scientists and land managers.
ForWarn is but one of several technologically advanced tools that we and our sister center, WWETAC, have been developing since our inception in 2005. In this issue, we highlight some of these tools, as well as some of the other activities that have been keeping us busy. We also introduce a few new faces, belonging to remarkable individuals that are bringing new skills and fresh ideas to our collective efforts. We have a great team here, and I’m very proud of what we have accomplished and enthusiastic about our work ahead.
Until next time,
Danny C. Lee