ForWarn Team Wins 2013 Interagency Partnership Award

 

May 2012 ForWarn disturbance map shows forest loss from strip mines in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia (red patches). Red and yellow streaks show the tracks of twin tornadoes occurring in March 2012. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

The U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest and Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment CentersForWarn team is among the agency recipients of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer’s (FLC) 2013 Interagency Partnership Award. The award recognizes the collaborative efforts of federal laboratory employees for outstanding work in technology transfer, and is one of the highest honors from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), a nationwide network of federal laboratories that provides a forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies and expertise with the marketplace.

ForWarn is a forest change recognition and tracking system that uses data from NASA satellites to develop near real-time maps for the continental United States. The ForWarn team tracks short-and long-term effects of forest disturbances across the nation. In 2011 and 2012, they monitored impacts of lingering drought in the Midwest, spring tornadoes in the South, wildfires in the West, and fall webworm outbreaks in the Northeast, among other events. This system helps forest resource managers rapidly detect, identify, and respond to known and unexpected disturbances in forests. ForWarn can be accessed from any internet browser, and is available at no cost to both the private and public sectors.

William Hargrove, the Eastern Threat Centers lead ForWarn researcher, says, “Using ForWarn via its online assessment viewer, forest resource managers can keep a watchful eye on their own lands, checking for potential disturbances. Users are encouraged to capture maps of disturbances to send to the Threat Centers and each other, allowing efficient communication about particular disturbance events and locations. ForWarn was made possible only by sustained coordination and cooperation among four different government agencies, pooling their strengths and working smarter in combination.”

Award recipients, including the Forest Service ForWarn team and collaborators from NASA Stennis Space Center, the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Data Center, will be honored during a ceremony during the FLC National Meeting in Westminster, Colorado, in April 2013.

For more information, email William Hargrove at whargrove@fs.fed.us.

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