ForWarn II: A Familiar Monitoring and Assessment Tool is Reborn

Upgrades to ForWarn’s Forest Change Assessment Viewer provide new views of vegetation change across the United States and beyond.

Map image from ForWarn II's Forest Change Assessment ViewerFor seven years, users have relied on the ForWarn monitoring and assessment tool for detecting and tracking potential vegetation disturbances in near-real-time across the conterminous United States. In 2018, the ForWarn development team from the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center completed a major ForWarn upgrade, known as ForWarn II, which expanded coverage to lands across boreal Canada, Mexico, and most of the Caribbean. In addition to its existing suite of data and map products, a new ForWarn II product maps the progress in green-up and brown-down of vegetation relative to an 18-year history of satellite records. This “Seasonal Progression Departure” product highlights areas that are experiencing an early or late growing season due to inter-annual variability—important information for distinguishing year-to-year vegetation changes from true disturbances or long-term shifts in forest conditions. All ForWarn II products are available through the Forest Change Assessment Viewer, accessible through any web browser and computer (including tablets and smart phones) with no registration or password required. As always, users can click on any location on a map to see its 18-year history of seasonal vegetation changes and gain management insights into its past ecological history. The ForWarn development team continues to generate data and map products in the computing “cloud” every eight days to minimize production costs, and issues alerts to managers working in or near areas observed to have potential vegetation disturbances. They plan to further expand the coverage of ForWarn II to include lands across Alaska, Hawaii, and all of Central America.

Pictured: ForWarn II’s Forest Change Assessment Viewer allows users to interact with forest change map products and to share and collaborate with colleagues regarding current and historical forest disturbance.


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External Partners/Collaborators: Leidos Innovations, University of North Carolina Asheville's National Environmental and Modeling Analysis Center

Contact: William Hargrove (PI), Research Ecologist, william.w.hargrove@usda.gov; Steven Norman, Research Ecologist, steve.norman@usda.gov; William Christie, Biological Scientist, william.m.christie@usda.gov 



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