Thursday, March 22, 2012

Forest threat tool released

A Web tool that tracks threats to the nation's forests has been released by the USDA Forest Service. Called ForWarn, it's a satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool that can detect threats from fire, disease or other causes before the threat increases in severity or extent. It provides information on weekly changes in forest canopy conditions as they are impacted by insects, diseases, wildfires or extreme weather events. NASA's Stennis Space Center, Miss., worked with the Forest Service to develop the system. The prototype has successfully operated since January 2010 and uses NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer satellite to track changes in vegetation. ForWarn uses a web-based map tool, the Forest Change Assessment Viewer, to provide an 8-day coast-to-coast snapshot of the landscape. The coverage area is immense. According to the U.S. Forest Service, there are some 747 million acres of forest in the United States. (Source: Tcp, 03/22/12) Website and release. Background story