Volume 7, Issue 1 - January/February 2014
Eastern Threat Center Highlights Cont'd
Center Expertise Helps Guide National Forest Health Monitoring
The Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program relies on a Management Team to provide input regarding the direction and scope of FHM activities. In a new appointment, Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Frank Koch (left) represents Forest Service Research and Development on the team whose primary role is to advise the FHM National Program Manager. The team also assists in making decisions about the FHM Program’s engagement in topics discussed at the biennial FHM Workgroup Meeting. (The next meeting, in March, will focus on urban forest health; forest decline; and restoration strategies, techniques, alternatives, and resources.) Research ecologist Kurt Riitters served on the Management Team prior to Koch’s appointment.
Korean Forests Gain Ground with Forest Service Support
Korean forest scientists know all too well how degraded forests affect ecosystems and people. During the 20th century, unsustainable harvesting and conversion of forests to cropland caused “serious social and environmental problems like lack of fuel, severe flooding, and droughts,” according to the Korea Forest Service.
In the 1970s, the country began a widespread forest rehabilitation program, resulting in forest cover over about 64 percent of Korea’s land mass today. But the forests have lacked diversity in species and structure, making them especially vulnerable to a variety of stressors, including climate change, wildfire, insects, and diseases. A few years ago, Korea adopted methods from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program to keep a watchful eye over forest growth and recovery. In 2011, the Korea Forest Service and Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI) officially established the Korea Forest Health Monitoring program.
KFRI recently sponsored Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Kurt Riitters to attend the International Symposium on Forest Health in Seoul, Korea. The symposium, last held in 2007, convened international forest health monitoring professionals to share knowledge and experience to continue advancing Korea’s monitoring program. Riitters represented the United States with a presentation highlighting the U.S. FHM Program’s annual national reports, which are produced by a diverse team of experts including researchers from the Eastern Threat Center and cooperating scientists from North Carolina State University. He also participated in field demonstrations of forest health measurements. “Personally, I gained an appreciation of the dedication of Korean scientists to forest inventory and forest health monitoring,” says Riitters.
Above: Kurt Riitters (second from right) is pictured with other visiting scientists at the Korea Forest Research Institute.
Center Researcher Retires
Bill Smith (left), Eastern Threat Center biometrician, retired December 31, 2013. Bill began working with the Forest Service in 1994, and contributed significantly to the Forest Health Monitoring Program through statistical support, risk mapping, and collaborations with federal, state, and university scientists. He also taught undergraduate and graduate students as a faculty member in North Carolina State University’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. Thank you for your service, Bill, and congratulations!