News Release

Forest Service Launches Web-Based Forest Threats Viewing Tool

December 17, 2007


Asheville, NC — The Forest Service's Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) recently launched its forest threats summary viewer, a tool that will provide images, threat distribution maps, additional forestry contact information, and brief descriptions about forest threats throughout the eastern U.S. EFETAC partnered with the University of North Carolina Asheville's National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) to develop the tool, which is available on EFETAC’s Web site, www.forestthreats.org.

“The forest threats summary viewer is an excellent tool for individuals concerned about environmental threats to healthy forests, or how these threats affect trees in their backyard,” says Danny C. Lee, EFETAC Director. “The viewer will make forest research more relevant and useful to forest land managers and homeowners by connecting them with resources to help address their concerns.”

The viewer is a user-friendly, Web-based tool searchable by forest threat (e.g., hemlock woolly adelgid) or by State. Threats are categorized by today’s familiar forest concerns, including invasive plants, insects and diseases, loss of open space, climate change, and wildland fire. The user is also provided current and credible Web links to other Federal, State, and local resources that offer additional in-depth information. This initial version of the multi-phased tool will be continually updated with environmental threats as well as additional search features.

"UNC Asheville is excited to be working with the Forest Service on a project that provides an innovative and dynamic way for people to access information on forest threats," said Karin Lichtenstein, NEMAC project manager and research associate. "This new collaboration allows students to work directly on applied research projects and create real products for the public that help the environment."

EFETAC and NEMAC joined forces in June 2006 to create user-friendly tools that share the latest research and expertise concerning threats to forest health. These tools will assist forest landowners, managers, policy makers, scientists, and general audiences make sound land management decisions.

Established in 2005, EFETAC is a joint effort of the Forest Service’s Research and Development, the National Forest System, and State and Private Forestry. The Center is actively developing new technology and tools to anticipate and respond to emerging forest threats. Headquartered with the Southern Research Station in Asheville, the Center also has offices in Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, NC.

NEMAC, established at UNC Asheville in 2003, is nationally recognized for expertise in environmental modeling and visualizations, Web technology, and database development.

For additional information on the forest threats summary viewer, please contact Perdita Spriggs, EFETAC Communications Director, at (828) 259-0542 or by email at pspriggs@fs.fed.us.

News Release Contact
Perdita B. Spriggs
828-230-3292
pspriggs@fs.fed.us