GREENVILLE, SC – A new online interactive website is designed to make extensive information about the state of U.S. forests available to anyone.
Thanks to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the State of America’s Forests website offers information related to U.S. forests in the hands of the public and professionals in intuitive ways never before accessible. Exploratory maps, graphs, charts, and videos are designed to help users to better understand the value and importance of forests as a source of clean water, clean air, human wellbeing, biodiversity, recreation, products, economic development, and many other benefits and services.
The website reviews the many challenges that threaten forests existence and health, and undermine the myriad ecosystem services they provide to society, and particularly, to rural, forest rich communities, according to statement released by the Endowment. For example, it includes analysis of wildfire, insect and disease outbreaks, invasive species, species at risk of extinction, housing development, forest fragmentation, and drought.
"Whether it be catastrophic wildfires in the West, pest infestation and disease, or disastrous hurricanes on the East Coast, our forests are under tremendous stress, and we are all affected, regardless of our proximity to the forest," said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the Endowment. "Anyone remotely interested in better understanding and learning more about the tremendous importance of forests will find State of America’s Forests an invaluable resource."
Users can use the site to explore trends over time, conditions defining our forest landscapes, stewardship across different regions, and strategies to conserve and protect the forest resource, which blankets fully one-third of the U.S. landscape.
Dr. Mila Alvarez of Solutions for Nature and the project’s leader, worked closely with the Endowment’s project partner, the USDA Forest Service and Esri (a global leader in geographic information systems) as well as an extensive network of researchers from the public and private sectors and academia to develop the website, populate the data, and bring the project to completion. Dr. Alvarez presented the completed work at the Esri Federal GIS Conference in Washington D.C. in late January.
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to lead this important work that helps explain the value of America’s forests, their contribution to the quality of American life, and the status of efforts to sustainably manage them,” said Dr. Alvarez. “It is the product of a collaborative effort that translates the latest data, using next-generation software, into a tool that enhances understanding related to forest assessment in an innovative, intuitive and easy-to-explore format.”
Visit State of America’s Forests at www.usaforests.org.
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