Media report on $6M NSF grant awarded to compile forest ecosystem data 

Portland Press Herald, Mainebiz and WAGM (Channel 8 in Presque Isle) reported the University of Maine has been awarded $6 million from the National Science Foundation to compile data to better assess, understand and forecast complex forest landscape changes. The project will bring together expertise and facilities from UMaine, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Vermont to build a digital framework that integrates, analyzes and visualizes complex forest data streams across the region. “Forests are changing rapidly, while the technology to better monitor them is, too,” says Aaron Weiskittel, professor of forest biometrics and modeling and Irving Chair of Forest Ecosystem Management at UMaine, who is leading the project. “I hope this project can help support and sustain northern New England’s unique working forests, which many rural communities rely on for their livelihoods.” U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King also announced the grant in a news release. “Maine’s forests are a vital contributor to our state’s economy, particularly in rural communities, and that’s why it’s so important that we continue to find new opportunities to support and sustain this plentiful natural resource,” the senators said in a joint statement. “The research done by the University of Maine’s faculty and students has already helped create new, sustainable uses that boost our economy and conserve our forests. This grant will modernize their important work, improve the data collection process and provide comprehensive, near real-time information to ensure that both our forest products industry and our forest ecosystems will continue to support good-paying Maine jobs.”