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Forest Threats Accomplishments

Kier Klepzig, Assistant Director | Southern Research Station | 200 W.T. Weaver Blvd | Asheville, NC 28804

Forest Threats Accomplishments


Eastern forests are subject to a variety of environmental stresses such as insects, diseases, invasive plants, drought, fire, cataclysmic storms, and development.  Sometimes these impacts occur individually but often they come in combination, producing lasting effects on ecological and socioeconomic values. Scientists involved in Threats to Forest Health look beyond piecemeal attempts to address these environmental stresses and focus instead on interacting, multiple stresses, so that land managers can anticipate disturbances and act to prevent or lessen the effects, or restore affected ecosystems.


Hurricane impact zones from phenology data
Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools
Forest spatial patterns in Google Earth
Early warning system detects seasonal vegetation changes
The early warning system is an ongoing monitoring project that detects forest threats across the continental U.S. using remote
sensing and GIS. Through the use of multi-temporal change detection, the system is designed to assess landscape and forest change over a broad geographical area.
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CRAFTing Tools for Forest Managers
The Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center and the University of North Carolina Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center are collaborating on a risk assessment project that will help natural resource managers make decisions about forest and rangeland management.
more...
Landscape pattern maps now available in Google Earth
A wide range of users can now view landscape patterns in Google Earth. A scientist with the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center recently posted several Google Earth applications to enable visualization of three landscape and forest spatial metrics at local to national scale.
more...
Impacts of Fire and Invasive Species on Pollinators in Forests Threats to forest health publications
The Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC)
Impacts of Fire and
Invasive Species on
Pollinators in Forests
Jim Hanula (SRS-4552, Athens) determined which method of removing privet from riparian forests would move forests most quickly to the desired future condition.
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Recent Forest Threats and other Publications
  -- 100 Most Recent SRS Publications
  -- EFETAC Publications
Additional EFETAC Accomplishments
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Early Warning System Detects Seasonal Vegetation Changes

The early warning system is an ongoing monitoring project that detects forest threats across the continental U.S. using remote sensing and GIS. Through the use of multi-temporal change detection, the system is designed to assess landscape and forest change over a broad geographical area. A core element of the early warning system is NASA’s MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite imagery, which provides worldwide imagery coverage captured at 1 to 2 day intervals. MODIS is especially useful for threat detection due to its frequent revisits, broad spectral capabilities, and large image swath. These advantages allow for the creation of cloud free 16-day composites on a continental scale.  More Details at EFETAC

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CRAFTing tools for forest managers

The Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center and the University of North Carolina Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center are collaborating on a risk assessment project that will help natural resource managers make decisions about forest and rangeland management. This collaboration is focused on advancing the Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT) into a more flexible and dynamic environment with development of on-line tools and facilitation techniques. 

Currently, the project includes development of a new Web site with tutorials, a project-specific portal and Wizard for CRAFT users, a wiki-inspired tool called CRAFTiPedia, an integration process for converting GIS spatial layers into a Bayesian Belief Network (and vice versa), and the use of real-life case studies to aid in the testing of each of these tools and techniques. These case studies have highlighted several areas that are applicable to CRAFT, including the spread of invasive exotic plants in wildlife openings in the Pisgah National Forest, and investigating the use of wildlife crossings within the Ocala National Forest. Workshops are being held for internal and external stakeholders and partners.

Partners: University of North Carolina Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center
More Details at EFETAC

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Landscape pattern maps now available in Google Earth


A wide range of users can now view landscape patterns in Google Earth. A scientist with the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center recently posted several Google Earth applications to enable visualization of three landscape and forest spatial metrics at local to national scale. A Google Earth user simply downloads a small application file which sets up dynamic access to a massive geographic database that is housed on computer systems maintained by partners at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. The user is then free to pan and zoom over the continental United States, to see both low- and high-resolution maps of the three types of landscape patterns. An important feature of the application is the ability to make the pattern maps semi-transparent, which allows the user to see landscape pattern metrics in relation to the actual ground conditions as shown on aerial photos provided by the Google Earth databases.  More Details at EFETAC

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Additional EFETAC Accomplishments

U.S. Invasive Plants Identified in Comprehensive Database

Template for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Management Options


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Impacts of Fire and Invasive Species on Pollinators in Forests


Jim Hanula (SRS-4552, Athens) determined which method of removing privet from riparian forests would move forests most quickly to the desired future condition. One privet removal treatment resulted in a 4-fold increase in pollinator diversity and a 10-fold increase in pollinator abundance after only one year. This innovative project has served to develop management strategies that favor pollinator abundance and raise awareness about the damaging effects of invasive plants on pollinators.  In addition, Dr. Hanula studied the impacts of fire and fire surrogates on pollinators in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and coastal plain of Alabama.  In partnership with the University of Georgia, Dr. Hanula initiated this research from a need to insure that forest management practices did not negatively affect pollinators. Dr. Hanula found that a combination of cutting the shrub layer followed by prescribed fire in the mountains greatly increased the diversity and abundance of pollinators including a rare butterfly, the diana fritillary. Similar treatments on the coastal plain showed that these management practices did not have a negative effect on pollinators there. For his efforts, Dr. Hanula received national recognition in the form the USDA Forest Service 2007 Celebrating Wildflowers Award for Excellence in Pollinator Conservation. Jim Hanula (Jhanula@fs.fed.us)


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