Goal: Deliver Benefits to the Public Improving hurricane damage assessments with new satellite technology and outreach
Recent advances in satellite technology and collaborative exchange between Forest Service researchers and state forestry agencies have given forest managers greatly improved insights into hurricane damage.
Damage assessments are crucial in the immediate wake of extreme hurricanes such as Hurricane Michael, which struck the southeastern U.S. in late 2018. The destruction caused by such severe storms typically restricts accessibility, and this, along with the huge scale of the impacted area, makes accurate and rapid assessments from ground observations impossible. Newly available high-frequency, high-resolution satellite technology is a game changer for rapid forest change assessment and monitoring. The European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 twin satellites provide ten-meter observations at five-day intervals that can result in remarkably early and efficient damage insights. With the help of cloud computing and some technical expertise, these high-resolution forest maps can identify damage in hardwood and conifer areas. SRS scientists worked with state and federal forestry agencies to develop repeated assessments after Hurricane Michael and refine on the ground understanding of the damages. This collaborative effort improves the way storm damage can be quantified. Using a similar approach, this technology can also document forest recovery and post-storm salvage logging and the effects of multiple disturbances as part of a systematic landscape monitoring approach.
- Principal Investigators
- Steve Norman, Research Ecologist
- Bill Christie, Biological Scientist
- William Hargrove, Research Ecologist
- 4854 - Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center
- Strategic Program Area
- Inventory and Monitoring
- Research Partner
- UNCA NEMAC
- External Partners
- Florida Forestry Service
- Georgia Forestry Commission
- Alabama Forestry Commission