Steven P. NormanResearch Ecologist
Asheville, NC 28804-3454
Forest monitoring is increasingly critical for maintaining forest resilience over the long term, yet our ability to assess forest health and track disturbance is limited. Dr. Norman's research seeks to improve the way we map forest conditions through better use of remote sensing technologies. Beginning in 2010, he participated in a team that mapped disturbances and seasonal phenological variation nationally at 8-day intervals using coarse MODIS and Sentinel 3 imagery (this is the ForWarn project). More recently, he applied lessons learned to map disturbances at near-tree-crown resolution (10m) using Google Earth Engine and Sentinel 2 imagery (this is the HiForm project). With an emphasis on both efficient landscape-scale techniques and expertise in ecology, he has helped progress our understanding of underappreciated disturbance impacts, such as wild and prescribed fire in deciduous forests, spring freeze effects, multi-year disturbance and recovery dynamics, and non-native insect defoliation. In addition, he has used high-resolution canopy lidar to characterize gradients and legacies of disturbance within southern Appalachian forests. The goal of his research is to provide products and techniques that are directly relevant for forest planners, managers and other decision makers working at scale.
Google Earth Engine
Comparative risk assessment
Drought and climate change
Non-native invasive plants
Old growth forests
Coast redwood forests
Public land surveys
Past ResearchHistorical fire regimes of Lassen National Forest, CA
Fire-climate relationships in northeastern California
Coast redwood fire ecology
- Ph.D. in Geography, 2002
- The Pennsylvania State University
- M.A. in Geography, 1991
- Western Illinois University
- B.A. in Geography-Environmental Science, 1987
- Mansfield University of PA
- Association for Fire Ecology, (—)
- International Association for Landscape Ecology, (—)
Featured Publications and Products
- Reilly, Matthew J.; Norman, Steven P.; O'Brien, Joseph J.; Loudermilk, E. Louise. 2022. Drivers and ecological impacts of a wildfire outbreak in the southern Appalachian Mountains after decades of fire exclusion.
- Norman, Steven P.; Christie, William M. 2022. Precise mapping of disturbance impacts to U.S. forests using high-resolution satellite imagery.
- Norman, Steven P.; Hargrove, William W.; Christie, William M. 2017. Spring and autumn phenological variability across environmental gradients of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA.
- Kumar, Jitendra; Weiner, Jon; Hargrove, William W.; Norman, Steve; Hoffman, Forrest M.; Newcomb, Doug. 2016. Characterization and classification of vegetation canopy structure and distribution within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park using LiDAR.
- Norman, Steve; Koch, Frank H.; Hargrove, William W. 2016. Review of broad-scale drought monitoring of forests: Toward an integrated data mining approach.
- Vaughan, Matthew C.; Hagan, Donald L.; Bridges, William C.; Barrett, Kyle ; Norman, Steve n; Coates, T. Adam; Klein, Rob . 2022. Effects of burn season on fire-excluded plant communities in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA.
- Worley, Elijah ; Liu, Ning ; Sun, Ge ; Norman, Steven P.; Christie, William M.; Gavazzi, Michael ; Boggs, Johnny ; McNulty, Steven G. 2022. Impacts of Hurricane Michael on watershed hydrology: A case study in the Southeastern United States.
- Norman, Steven P.; Christie, William M. 2020. Chapter 7 - Satellite-based evidence of forest stress and decline across the conterminous United States for 2016, 2017, and 2018.
- Hallema, Dennis; Sun, Ge; Caldwell, Peter; Robinne, Francois-Nicolas; Bladon, Kevin D.; Norman, Steve; Liu, Yongqiang; Cohen, Erika C.; McNulty, Steve. 2019. Wildland fire impacts on water yield across the contiguous United States.
- Hallema, Dennis W.; Sun, Ge; Caldwell, Peter V.; Norman, Steven P.; Cohen, Erika C.; Liu, Yongqiang; Bladon, Kevin D.; McNulty, Steven G. 2018. Burned forests impact water supplies.
- Hallema, Dennis W.; Sun, Ge; Bladon, Kevin D.; Norman, Steven P.; Caldwell, Peter V.; Liu, Yongqiang; McNulty, Steven G. 2017. Regional patterns of postwildfire streamflow response in the Western United States: The importance of scale-specific connectivity.
- Hallema, Dennis W.; Sun, Ge; Caldwell, Peter V.; Norman, Steve; Cohen Mack, Erika; Liu, Yongqiang; Ward, Eric J.; McNulty, Steve. 2016. Assessment of wildland fire impacts on watershed annual water yield: Analytical framework and case studies in the United States.
- Norman, Steve; Koch, Frank H.; Hargrove, William W. 2016. Detecting and monitoring large-scale drought effects on forests: toward an integrated approach.
- Hallema, Dennis W.; Sun, Ge; Caldwell, Peter V.; Norman, Steve; Cohen, Erika C.; Liu, Yongqiang; McNulty, Steve. 2016. Relationships between wildland fires and watershed hydrology across the contiguous U.S.
- Norman, Steve; Hargrove, William; Spruce, Joseph P. 2015. Chapter 6: Monitoring Forest Disturbances across Seasons Using the ForWarn Recognition and Tracking System.
- Norman, Steven P.; Hargrove, William W.; Spruce, Joseph P.; Christie, William M.; Schroeder, Sean W. 2013. Highlights of satellite-based forest change recognition and tracking using the ForWarn System.
- Mills, Richard Tran; Kumar, Jitendra; Hoffman, Forrest M.; Hargrove, William W.; Spruce, Joseph P.; Norman, Steven P. 2013. Identification and visualization of dominant patterns and anomalies in remotely sensed vegetation phenology using a parallel tool for principal components analysis.
- Guo, Qinfeng; Norman, Steve. 2012. Improving restoration to control plant invasions under climate change.
- Norman, Steven P.; Hargrove, William W. 2012. Land surface phenology as a coarse-filter indicator of disturbance and climatic effects across the coast redwood range.
- Improving Hurricane Damage Assessments with New Satellite Technology and Outreach (2019)
- 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.
- Research Review Reveals Limitations to Drought Impact Monitoring (2016)
- A recently published review of drought monitoring discusses the fundamental challenges of detecting and monitoring drought impacts at broad scales, describes strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches for doing so, and presents methods for combining these approaches with supporting datasets to assess drought impacts across landscapes.
- advancing the Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT) (2011)
- The Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center and the University of North Carolina Asheville's National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center have expanded an integrated risk assessment framework that will help natural resource managers compare the effects of different decisions, despite uncertainties. This collaboration is focused on advancing the Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT) through development of on-line tools and applied workshops.