News Release

Scientists Recognized for Innovative Forest Health Research

April 1, 2010

Asheville, NC — A USDA Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) scientist and collaborators were awarded top honors for two posters at the annual Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Work Group meeting held earlier this year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The posters highlighted research focused on forest genetics and climate change as well as a national forest threat early warning system.

"Assessing Forest Tree Risk of Genetic Degradation from Climate Change," by EFETAC research ecologist Bill Hargrove and North Carolina State University partners Kevin Potter and Frank Koch, received the Most Exciting Science award. The poster describes methods for forecasting future location and habitat quality for 200 North American forest tree species, identifying existing tree populations most vulnerable to climate change impacts, and assessing susceptibility to loss of genetic variation critical to climate change adaptation.

A second poster by Hargrove and NASA Stennis Space Center collaborators Joseph Spruce, Gerald Gasser, James Smoot, and Philip Kuper received recognition for Best Graphics. "Monitoring 2009 Forest Disturbance Across the Conterminous United States, Based on Near-Real Time and Historical MODIS 250 Meter NDVI Products" presents a case study to use satellite imagery for establishing baseline conditions and monitoring vegetation change. The effort is part of a national forest threat early warning system in development by EFETAC, NASA Stennis Space Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and EFETAC’s sister center, the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center.

"It's nice to see our scientists recognized for their innovative efforts," says EFETAC Director Danny C. Lee.  "Forest health monitoring is an important part of our work.  These particular efforts use advanced technologies in very practical ways to help detect or anticipate changes in our forests."

The annual FHM Work Group Meeting provides an opportunity for open discussion on current and emerging forest health issues and allows partners to provide input on FHM program development and implementation. The winning posters in the Best Graphics and Most Exciting Science categories can be viewed at

For more information

Contact Bill Hargrove at (828) 257-4846, email


Established in 2005, EFETAC 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. Visit for additional information.

About Forest Health Monitoring

Forest Health Monitoring is a national program designed to determine the status, changes, and trends in indicators of forest condition on an annual basis. The FHM program uses data from ground plots and surveys, aerial surveys, and other biotic and abiotic data sources and develops analytical approaches to address forest health issues that affect the sustainability of forest ecosystems. Visit for more information.