Purdue, U.S. Forest Service launch new, improved Alien Forest Pest Explorer

 WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University and the U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday (July 12) introduced the brand new and improved Alien Forest Pest Explorer interactive net device.

The user-friendly dashboard combines info from a number of sources to indicate the influence of various forest bugs and illnesses, and the potential for additional injury. The interactive and customizable dashboards are the primary to overlay this pest information with associated information concerning the standing and well being of the host tree species within the forest, stated Songlin Fei, the Dean’s Remote Sensing Chair and professor of forestry and pure assets in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, who led the venture.

“We need to higher perceive the connection between pests and tree hosts, in addition to assess the vulnerability of our forests, in order that we are able to make the most effective choices to protect and defend them,” stated Fei who leads Purdue’s Digital Forestry Initiative. “This was designed for everybody, not just for the professionals. Pest and illness prevention begins in your yard. We need to put this device within the fingers of anybody who cares for bushes so that they perceive what pests they might face, the right way to determine them and the right way to defend their bushes and forests.”

Spongy moth larvae. The Spongy Moth, Lymantria dispar, is an invasive insect that threatens the well being of forests. It is included as one of many prime 16 most damaging pests within the new Alien Forest Pest Explorer interactive net device. (Photo courtesy of Karla Salp, Washington State Department of Agriculture)
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Fei collaborated with Nicole Kong, affiliate professor of geographic info techniques at Purdue, to prepare the info, and design and develop the device, which Purdue hosts.

“With the COVID pandemic, all of us grew to become way more accustomed to utilizing dashboards and realized the empowerment of having the ability to simply discover info and tendencies particular to our space,” stated Kong, who additionally is part of Purdue’s Digital Forestry Initiative and affiliate dean for analysis in Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies. “One can consider this as like a COVID dashboard for forest well being and pest outbreaks. We labored to visualise the info in essentially the most helpful and intuitive means.”

The Alien Forest Pest Explorer, or AFPE, provides maps of pest species distributions; the expansion, mortality and removing charges of host species; in addition to tendencies in host abundance and details about the pests. The yearly up to date information has decision to the county degree.

The dashboard and its database of knowledge are essential to forest well being safety, stated Tracy Tophooven, the performing station director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Northern Research Station.

“In the previous few centuries, lots of of invasive bugs have been launched to the United States via a wide range of means,” Tophooven stated. “This device integrates the Northern Research Station’s essential invasive species analysis with forest stock and evaluation information to allow customers to view county-level information to satisfy native challenges posed by invasive bugs.”   


The Alien Forest Pest Explorer interactive net device combines info from a number of sources to indicate the influence of various forest bugs and illnesses. (Purdue University picture/courtesy of Agricultural Communications)
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Experts from the USDA Forest Service, together with Randall Morin, analysis forester; Andrew Liebhold, analysis entomologist; and Susan Crocker, analysis forester, collaborated on the venture.

Information featured within the dashboard contains information from the crew’s analysis into the 16 most damaging pest species and a paper Fei co-authored with Morin and Liebhold, printed within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in addition to information from the Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis Program Database.

“The AFPE integrates two essential information units and makes them accessible on-line with customized mapping choices,” Morin stated. “A person can rapidly get details about the vary of invasive forest pests and their hosts within the forests of the United States. Before the AFPE, such a info required accessing and downloading a number of datasets and having to data and instruments to mix them appropriately.”

The AFPE device is dynamic and customizable. An overview video is accessible right here.

“One can zoom in or out and even draw an overview round their space of curiosity and solely see info from inside that boundary,” Kong stated. “In addition, customers can search by pest, for instance, the emerald ash borer, to see the place it’s throughout the U.S., how a lot forest quantity has been misplaced because it arrived in an space or the quantity of host bushes in a weak space not but infested.”

One telling piece of knowledge the device illustrates is forest mortality, Fei stated.

“Our forests are essential to environmental well being,” he stated. “Our forests are an enormous carbon sink for emissions, however when a tree dies, that carbon is launched. Some of essentially the most damaging pest species are killing off bushes at a charge equal to placing thousands and thousands of extra vehicles on the road yearly, by way of carbon emissions. We want to trace this and take note of how issues are trending. It is less expensive and simpler to take care of a forest than to attempt to rebuild one.”

The Alien Forest Pest Explorer database is maintained by Purdue, the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station, the U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Protection and the Forest Health Assessment and Applied Sciences crew. The venture additionally receives partial funding from the National Science Foundation.

Purdue’s College of Agriculture and the Forest Service have a historical past of profitable collaboration, together with a joint nationwide degree invasive plant venture and a nationwide degree forest biomass and carbon venture.

Writer: Elizabeth Ok. Gardner; 765-441-2024; [email protected]

Sources: Songlin Fei, [email protected]

Nicole Kong, [email protected]

Randall Morin, [email protected]

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head, [email protected]

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