Honors Gallery

2013 Interagency Partnership Southeast

Award: Interagency Partnership

Year: 2013

Award Type:



ForWarn is a satellite-based monitoring and assessment tool that helps natural resource managers rapidly recognize and track potential forest disturbances, and intrusion by insects, diseases, wildfires, extreme weather, and other natural or manmade events across the contiguous United States. Initially developed through efforts led by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, the success of ForWarn is the result of significant and substantive ongoing contributions from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Stennis Space Center, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Department of the Interior’s United States Geological Survey Earth
Research Observation Science Center.
ForWarn utilizes satellite imaging to help society address national and regional forest health issues and their impacts. It employs a web-based mapping tool, the Forest Change Assessment Viewer, available online using any Internet browser, that allows users to view current and archived ForWarn satellite-based forest change products that are refreshed every 8 days, as well as other near real-time maps and tools that are used to help interpret new forest disturbances and to create and share custom maps. The forest health management community can freely access both current and historical ForWarn national forest disturbance maps online to assess potential forest disturbances for any particular location across the country, and can check the latest ForWarn products as soon as they become available. This diverse community is responsible for forest health monitoring and protection, and includes employees of multiple federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as members of academia, private forest owners, and the general public.
ForWarn forest disturbance maps have already been used effectively to detect and track a variety of abiotic disturbances, such as damage from river flooding, severe hurricanes, drought, wind, ice, hail, and frost; to detect and track disturbances in agricultural crops and rangeland forage; and to identify and monitor defoliation and mortality caused by a variety of insects. As climate change and extreme weather continue to affect and increase forest disturbances, the value and significance of ForWarn will grow as it improves
and extends to meet science, research, and management needs.