News Release

Forest Service Honors Outstanding Science

February 12, 2014

Asheville, NC — U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell recently announced the 2013 Chief's Honor Awards recipients. The agency's Southern Research Station Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, headquartered in Asheville, received two awards for research that supports forest health and management in the face of changing conditions.

The ForWarn team, which included scientists and staff from the Eastern and Western Threat Centers, received the 2013 Chief's Award for Sustaining Forests and Grasslands. "On behalf of the ForWarn team, we are honored to receive this prestigious award," said William Hargrove, Eastern Threat Center research ecologist and lead ForWarn researcher based in Asheville. "ForWarn's success in monitoring and tracking forest disturbance and recovery, in addition to vegetation conditions across adjacent lands, holds great promise for keeping our forests healthy into the future."

Partners in the project also received the award, including collaborators from NASA Stennis Space Center, U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Interior U.S. Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, and University of North Carolina Asheville's National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC). "ForWarn is not only the result of collaboration among federal and university partners—it's also an ever-growing network of relationships between the Forest Service and natural resource managers across the country," said Hargrove.

Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Steve McNulty was recognized for his research of global climate-related societal impacts with the 2013 Chief's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology.  "I am humbled to receive this award, which is really the result from working with the some of the best, brightest and most dedicated natural resource researchers and professionals over the past two decades," said McNulty, located in Raleigh, NC.

"We have made great strides in better understanding environmental stress impacts and management options to address these issues," continued McNulty, who co-leads the Southeastern Regional Climate Hub recently announced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Now, we need to shift focus to better communicating this information to land owners and managers. I look forward to improving land management response to environmental stress through continued and expanded collaboration and partnerships in the years to come."

The Chief's Awards, which acknowledge outstanding achievements related to the Forest Service's strategic goals, are among the highest honors in the agency. The agency will present the awards during a ceremony on March 17 in Washington, DC.

Additional Information
To find out more about ForWarn's partnership with NEMAC and projects in Western North Carolina, view the UNCA news release.

For more information, contact William Hargrove at or Steve McNulty at

About the Eastern Threat Center
The Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center is actively developing new technology and tools to anticipate and respond to emerging forest threats. Headquartered with the Southern Research Station in Asheville, the Center also has offices in Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, N.C. Visit for additional information.