Mars Hill College hosts Monday, March 4, program on Forest Service ForWarn System

Press release from
Mars Hill College

Mars Hill College will host a program on Monday, March 4, which will explore the USDA’s Forest Service ForWarn System, a set of satellite-based forest assessment tools for examining threats for healthy forests.

The program, titled “ForWarn: A Forest Disturbance Change Detection System to Aid Forest Managers,” will take place at 7 pm in Room 135 of the Ferguson Math and Science Center. It will be led by Dr. Bill Hargrove, research ecologist with the USDA’s Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center. The event is free and open to the public

Since 2006, Dr. Hargrove has worked at the EFETAC, on a satellite-based forest disturbance monitoring system for the contiguous United States. The system delivers new forest change images every eight days and provides tools for attributing abnormalities to insects, disease, wildfire, storms, human development or unusual weather.

According to Dr. Scott Pearson, professor of biology at Mars Hill College, healthy forests are important because they provide clean water, timber products, and recreational opportunities.

“Dr. Hargrove and his collaborators at EFETAC have developed ForWarn, an innovative system to monitor the health of forest ecosystems nationwide,” he said. “This system can alert scientists and the general public to changes due to insects outbreaks, fires, weather events, and human activities. ForWarn integrates satellite data, GIS mapping, and multivariate statistics to create accurate, up-to-date maps of these threats. His talk will give students and the public insight into how creative scientists can harness the power of data and complementary technologies to address a practical problem.”

This program will also serve as the topic for the March meeting of Sigma Xi, a scientific research society of scientists and engineers based at UNC Asheville, Warren Wilson College, Brevard College, and Mars Hill College.

Mars Hill College is a private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees and one graduate degree in elementary education. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North 1-866-MHC-4-YOU.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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