[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 12-Dec-2012
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Contact: Bill Hargrove
whargrove@fs.fed.us
828-257-4846
USDA Forest Service ‑ Southern Research Station

ForWarn team wins 2013 Interagency Partnership Award

The U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest and Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Centers' ForWarn team is among the agency recipients of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer's (FLC) 2013 Interagency Partnership Award.

The award recognizes the collaborative efforts of federal laboratory employees for outstanding work in technology transfer, and is one of the highest honors from FLC. FLC is a nationwide network of federal laboratories that provides a forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies and expertise with the marketplace.

ForWarn is a forest change recognition and tracking system that uses data from NASA satellites to develop near real-time maps for the continental United States. The ForWarn team tracks short-and long-term effects of forest disturbances across the nation. In 2011 and 2012, they monitored impacts of lingering drought in the Midwest, spring tornadoes in the South, wildfires in the West, and fall webworm outbreaks in the Northeast, among other events. This system helps forest resource managers rapidly detect, identify, and respond to known and unexpected disturbances in forests. ForWarn can be accessed from any internet browser, and is available at no cost to both the private and public sectors.

"This tool highlights the benefits of partners working across government agencies to sustain natural resources for future generations," says Forest Service Southern Research Station Director Robert L. Doudrick. "ForWarn empowers natural resource managers to detect new forest disturbances quickly and respond in a timely and appropriate manner. This helps minimize impacts and maximize forest recovery."

William Hargrove, the Eastern Threat Center's lead ForWarn researcher, says, "Using ForWarn via its online assessment viewer, forest resource managers can keep a watchful eye on their own lands, checking for new potential disturbances. Users are encouraged to capture maps of disturbances to send to the Threat Centers and each other, allowing efficient communication about particular disturbance events and locations. ForWarn was made possible only by sustained coordination and cooperation among four different government agencies, pooling their strengths and working smarter in combination."

Award recipients, including the Forest Service ForWarn team and collaborators from NASA Stennis Space Center, the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the U.S. Geological Survey EROS Data Center, will be honored during a ceremony during the FLC National Meeting in Westminster, Colorado, in April 2013.

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Learn more about ForWarn: http://forwarn.forestthreats.org/

Headquartered in Asheville, NC, the Southern Research Station comprises more than 120 scientists and several hundred support staff who conduct natural resource research in 20 locations across 13 southern states (Virginia to Texas). The Station's mission is "…to create the science and technology needed to sustain and enhance southern forest ecosystems and the benefits they provide." Learn more about the Southern Research Station at: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/.



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