ForWarn Chosen for National Climate Resilience Toolkit Launched for White House

Image from ForWarn: tracking hail damage in the Northeast. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.
Image from ForWarn: tracking hail damage in the Northeast. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

ForWarn, the satellite-based forest disturbance monitoring system developed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Eastern Forest and Western Wildland Threat Assessment Centers was selected as one of the “top 25” tools included in the  U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit  launched on November 17th for the White House by an interagency team that included members from the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Interior, NOAA, and others.

The Toolkit “provides resources and a framework for understanding and addressing the climate issues that impact people and their communities.” Tools like ForWarn, Beach-fx, CropScape and others are available in the Toolkit to help manage climate-related risks and opportunities, and to help guide communities in building resilience to extreme events.

The Forest Service’s Eastern Forest and Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Centers developed ForWarn  to help natural resource managers rapidly detect, identify, and respond to unexpected changes in the nation’s forests using web-based tools.

As a part of the strategic components for a National Early Warning System, ForWarn provides a near-real-time national overview of vegetation greenness to help detect changes across landscapes impacted by insects, diseases, wildfires, extreme weather, or other natural or human-caused events.

Developed in response to the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, ForWarn is maintained by the Threat Assessment Centers in partnership with NASA Stennis Space Center, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Geological Survey, and the University of North Carolina Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center.

ForWarn consists of a set of inter-related products including near-real-time forest change maps, an archive of past change maps, seasonal vegetation phenology maps, and derived map products from these efforts. ForWarn users can explore, save, and share recent and archived forest change maps to support collaborative projects and analyses.

Detection and early warning of regionally evident disturbances is an important activity because forests provide societal, environmental, economic, and ecological benefits. For examples, read the case stories on the ForWarn website that highlight disturbances detected and tracked, such as damage from recent hurricanes, drought in Texas and neighboring states, or the loss of hemlock trees in Appalachian forests.

For more information, email Steve Norman at snorman@fs.fed.us

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