Eastern Threat Center Co-Organizes Special Landscape Ecology Event

The ForWarn tool, which uses land surface phenology for forest disturbance monitoring, will be featured in a presentation during the special session. Pictured left to right: Bill Hargrove, Bill Christie, and Steve Norman from the Eastern Threat Center. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

The term “landscape ecology” may have different meanings for different people. That’s because the science of landscape ecology encompasses many subjects, perspectives, interactions, and scales. “It is about people, ecosystems, species, energy, pollutants, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing, modeling, disturbance, flows, conservation, and many, many other things,” according to the US-Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE).

Scientists from the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center are interested in many aspects of landscape ecology. In particular, they study land surface phenology–the status and timing of seasonal forest leaf development. When natural resource managers are in tune with phenological patterns, they can identify unusual conditions indicating potential ecosystem disturbance or recovery. To exchange information and ideas about this topic with other researchers, land managers, and students, Eastern Threat Center scientists and partners have organized a special session during the US-IALE 2013 Annual Symposium to be held in Austin, TX, April 14-18.

Eastern Threat Center research ecologists Bill Hargrove and Steve Norman and co-organizers from NASA Stennis Space Center and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will deliver presentations and moderate the special session on April 17, themed “Phenology for Disturbance Detection and Monitoring.” The session will feature 15 presentations in all, covering a variety of methods and applications for phenological observations in strategic ecosystem management.

Kurt Riitters, Eastern Threat Center research ecologist and US-IALE President. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

Hargrove, Norman, and partners previously organized a special session on phenology during US-IALEs 2010 Symposium. Hargrove says, “Organizing and participating in a special session during the US-IALE Symposium is a great way to stimulate the science of phenology, which is so important to modern and sustainable natural resource management.” According to Kurt Riitters, Eastern Threat Center research ecologist and current US-IALE President, The US-IALE Annual Symposium brings together a scientific community representing a variety of backgrounds and interests. “This is a unique opportunity to encourage collaboration and advance landscape ecology to benefit people and ecosystems.”

For more information, contact Bill Hargrove at whargrove@fs.fed.us.

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