Forest health takes teamwork

The University of North Carolina at Asheville and the U.S. Forest Service are joining forces to boost awareness and understanding of threats to forest health.

The joint venture will team UNCA’s advanced computer modeling and imaging capabilities with Forest Service research expertise to develop web-based resources that make threats to forest health readily visible and comprehensible.

The agreement, effective through June 2015, extends the ongoing collaborative efforts between UNC

Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) and the Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC).

“Our team’s passion is helping diverse interest groups visualize and understand complex scientific data in creative ways,”NEMAC Director Jim Fox said. “The goal of the NEMAC-EFETAC collaboration is to deliver critical information and tools to the people who need it, when they need it.”

NEMAC will contribute unique skills in computer modeling and programming, database management, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and education and outreach to the joint venture. These include CRAFT (the Comparative Risk Assessment Framework and Tools), a forest planning and decision support system; the Forest Threat Summary Viewer, a database of forest threat information and images; a prototype Early Warning System, a satellite imagery-based monitoring system for detecting unexpected forest changes; EFETAC’s online portal (http://www.forestthreats.org) and related communication materials.

For more information about NEMAC, visit www.nemac.unca.edu.

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