Journal highlights forest service early warning system

Dec 13, 2009

A national early warning system designed to assist land managers in rapidly detecting threats to forest health is featured in the cover article of the October 2009 issue of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing (PE&RS), the journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

The article, entitled "Toward a National Early Warning System for Forest Disturbances Using Remotely Sensed Canopy Phenology," describes the vision and progress of the system in development by partners from the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC), Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, and NASA Stennis Space Center.

The initial stages of the include use of satellite imagery in combination with aerial and on-the-ground observations to monitor forest health. The next stage, and a key component of the system, is the incorporation of data on land surface phenology—the expected seasonal vegetation changes such as spring leaf out and fall leaf color change and drop—to create weekly maps of U.S. vegetation (e.g., forest) change.

"Land surface phenologies can be used to characterize normal, 'expected' conditions and thus can help a warning system determine where and when vegetation has changed," says William Hargrove, EFETAC research ecologist and lead author of the PE&RS article. "The goal of this system is to allow analysis of vegetation change on a weekly basis at a national scale to provide near real-time information on forest conditions as they are impacted by insects, diseases, wildfires, or extreme weather events."

Researchers are employing the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite to generate the land surface phenology data that underlie the weekly landcover maps. "Work thus far has been promising," says Joe Spruce, a senior scientist working at NASA Stennis Space Center. "We can clearly detect regional patterns of forest disturbance from the MODIS data." Soon, land managers and other interested users will be able to access these disturbance detection products online. "We think that timely regional forest change detection products in a format that is easily accessible will help provide new, previously unavailable early warnings of prevalent forest threats. This application will enable new ways to monitor vital signs of forests and to respond where threats occur," says Spruce.

Source: Southern Research Station

Explore further: Predicting bioavailable cadmium levels in soils

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Forest Service Web-based tool helps manage environmental risk

Sep 25, 2009

The U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) recently launched the Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT), a user-friendly, Web-based support system that helps natural ...

Invasive grass may impede forest regeneration

Apr 09, 2007

The nonnative invasive grass Microstegium vimineum may hinder the regeneration of woody species in southern forests. Chris and Sonja Oswalt (Forest Service Southern Research Station) and Wayne Clatterbuck (University of Tennessee) ...

Recommended for you

Predicting bioavailable cadmium levels in soils

16 hours ago

New Zealand's pastoral landscapes are some of the loveliest in the world, but they also contain a hidden threat. Many of the country's pasture soils have become enriched in cadmium. Grasses take up this toxic heavy metal, ...

Oil drilling possible 'trigger' for deadly Italy quakes

20 hours ago

Italy's Emilia-Romagna region on Tuesday suspended new drilling as it published a report that warned that hydrocarbon exploitation may have acted as a "trigger" in twin earthquakes that killed 26 people in ...

Snow is largely a no-show for Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

20 hours ago

On March 1, 65 mushers and their teams of dogs left Anchorage, Alaska, on a quest to win the Iditarod—a race covering 1,000 miles of mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forest, tundra and coastline. According ...

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

21 hours ago

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

Study shows less snowpack will harm ecosystem

21 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new study by CAS Professor of Biology Pamela Templer shows that milder winters can have a negative impact both on trees and on the water quality of nearby aquatic ecosystems, far into the warm growing season.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.