Photo of William Hargrove

William Hargrove

Research Ecologist
200 W.T. Weaver Blvd
Asheville, NC 28804-3454
Phone: 828-257-4846

Current Research

Designing a national early warning system using satellite imagery that will examine the lower 48 United States at 500m resolution every 8 days to locate potential forest threats

Research Interests

My research interests include landscape ecology, ecoregionalization, conservation, statistics, parallel computation, spatially-explicit simulation modeling, multi-dimensional GIS technologies, entomology, GPS, remote sensing, and large-scale ecology. I have published papers on the analysis of spatial patterns, statistically delineated ecoregions, scientific computation and visualization, simulation modeling, and network analysis. Recent accomplishments include:

- designing the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Invited member of the 15-person NEON National Network Design Committee (NNDC), which was responsible for drafting the Integrated Science and Education Plan, the Networking and Informatics Baseline Design, and the Project Execution Plan (PEP) for NEON

- statistically producing a set of national wildfire biophysical settings regions for the LANDFIRE project to measure departure of ecosystems from their potential vegetation state for wildfire management

- mapping the risk that Sudden Oak Death (SOD), Phytophthora ramorum, will spread to other parts of the U.S., based on statistical ecoregions created using national maps of conditions likely to be limiting for P. ramorum, including humidity, leaf-wetness, and cool temperatures. The quantitative similarity of each of the SOD

-regions with the worst outbreak areas was used to make a national SOD-susceptibility forecast

- developing the first quantitative global ecoregion maps, in coordination with The Nature Conservancy, as predicted for 2050 and 2100 by two global climate models under two possible future scenarios. Quantitative global ecoregions will be used to prioritize ecological preservation and restoration worldwide.

- developing a practical map analysis tool to predict and map corridors used by wildlife as they disperse from one patch to another by tracking large numbers of synthetic "walkers" which are imbued with the preference and dispersal characteristics of a particular target species as they travel over landscapes - developing a set of statistical tools to quantify the representativeness of a sampling network, optimize placement of additional network nodes, and design a theoretically optimum network

- developing EMBYR, a probabilistic wildfire model to investigate the effects of landscape-level fires like those in Yellowstone National Park in 1988

Past Research

I received an M.S. in Entomology from University of Georgia in 1983, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from University of Georgia in 1988.

I moved to Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1990, and joined the ORNL staff in 2000 as a part of the Geographic Information and Spatial Technologies Group.

I moved to the ORNL Environmental Sciences Division (ESD) in 2001, and became part of the senior research staff in ESD in 2005.

I joined the Forest Service in October 2006, as part of the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center at the Southern Research Station in Asheville, NC.

At EFETAC, I have designed and operate a national early warning system using satellite imagery that will examine the lower 48 United States at 500m resolution every 8 days to locate potential forest threats.

For more information on my research please see my webpage at


Ph.D. in Ecosystem Ecology, 1988
University of Georgia
M.S. in Entomology, 1983
B.S. in General Biology, 1978
Vanderbilt University

Featured Publications and Products


Research Highlights

Early Warning System Detects Seasonal Vegetation Changes (2010)
SRS' Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center is partnering with NASA's Stennis Space Center to produce a series of seamless datasets on seasonal changes in vegetation.

ForWarn Monitors Forests Coast-to-Coast (2012)
SRS-2012-05 Web-based tool provides a weekly snapshot of U.S. forest conditions to aid forest managers

ForWarn Provides New Insight into Duration and Impacts of Forest Disturbances (2016)
SRS-2016-193 Since its inception in 2010, the ForWarn system has provided weekly maps that illustrate disturbance across the nation's forests. ForWarn researchers have recently developed a new seasonal forest monitoring product that provides insight into how long disturbances last. The new products distinguish between ephemeral (short-lived) disturbances and lasting disturbances.

Improving Hurricane Damage Assessments with New Satellite Technology and Outreach (2019)
SRS-2019-37 Recent advances in satellite technology and collaborative exchange between USDA Forest Service researchers and state forestry agencies have given forest managers greatly improved insights into hurricane damage.

Using Forest Phenology to Understand Landscape Change (2020)
SRS-2020-21 The Landscape Dynamics Assessment Tool (LanDAT) is designed to help natural resource managers assess changing landscapes and understand how these changes impact ecosystem services. LanDAT relies on vegetation phenology to map forest changes driven by fire, land use, insects, disease, and climate.

R&D Affiliations
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