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Forest Health Monitoring

Healthy forests are vital to our future. Consistent, large-scale, and long-term monitoring of key indicators of forest health status, change, and trends is therefore necessary to identify forest resources deteriorating across large regions.

The Forest Health Monitoring Research Group, part of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Sciences at North Carolina State University, is funded by the Southern Research Station (SRS) of the USDA Forest Service. The research group provides the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center (EFETAC) of the SRS with research expertise, data analyses, natural resource assessments, and technical writing and editing skills to support national forest health monitoring assessment and reporting efforts.

We adopt a holistic view of forest health. A long list of threats can impact the health of forests, including insect and disease infestations, fire, invasive species, fragmentation, and drought. We conduct research that focuses on developing and applying innovative qualitative methods and models to address broad-scale, complex threats to forest health, with an emphasis on delivering tools that can enable better-informed management of forests and the tree species that constitute them.

We work closely with staff from all three branches of the USDA Forest Service (Research, State and Private Forestry, and the National Forest System); with staff from states participating in the USDA Forest Service‚Äôs Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) Program; and with a broad range of interagency stakeholders and user groups. In addition to the Forest Service’s FHM program, the research team maintains close collaborations with the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program.