NSF awards additional funding for INSPIRES project – UMaine News

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The National Science Foundation has provided nearly $ 600,000 in additional funding to expand and expand a University of Maine-led effort to create a digital framework that can better assess and predict complex changes in forests.

The project, Leveraging Intelligent Computing and Smart Data for a Better Understanding of the Resilience of Northern Forest Ecosystems (INSPIRES), involves researchers and students from UMaine, University of New Hampshire, Dartmouth College and the University of Vermont to design a framework that can integrate, analyze, and visualize near real-time data from forests spanning the northern parts of their respective states and New York – collectively known as the forest region North.

Additional NSF funding allows researchers to expand their investigation by collaborating with Alabama A&M University (AAMU) to study the response of transitional forests to unique stressors when species are found primarily at the southern end of their biological range instead of their northern extent. AAMU, an institution of higher education serving minorities, is the only historically black college with an accredited forestry program in the United States

“We are very happy to welcome our new collaborators from AAMU to the project and to make our scientific efforts more diverse and inclusive as we move forward,” said Aaron Weiskittel, INSPIRES project leader, professor of biometrics and forest modeling and director of the Center for Research on Sustainable Forests (CRSF) at UMaine.

The INSPIRES project initially received $ 6 million from NSF in 2019, with $ 3 million subject to project progress and availability of funds. The organization recently approved both conditional and supplemental funding.

With both contingent and additional funding from NSF, the INSPIRES research team plans to continue its ongoing efforts by visiting research sites in the field, deploying wireless sensors for climate data acquisition, by targeting remote sensing acquisitions, by modeling parameterization and calibration to predict the regional forest. dynamic, and refine the mentorship and participation of students, including those in regional high schools.

“The project is well on schedule with many exciting results expected in the coming months, such as continued interactions with high school science teachers and students from across the region,” Weiskittel said.

Learn more about the full press release on the CRSF website.

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721, [email protected]

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