Eastern Decision Support Consortium

The Eastern Decision Support Consortium is a collaboration between the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry and the USDA Forest Service at the Northern Research Station.

Program Co-Chair: Dr. Chadwick Oliver

Program Co-Chair: Dr. Mark Twery

Forests provide numerous benefits, ranging from settings for recreation opportunities through wood products to habitat for a wide range of plants and animals. In the eastern United States, nearly 90% of the forests that provide these benefits are privately owned. Demands upon these forests, including the National Forests, are intensifying. Sustainable stewardship of these benefits requires private forest owners and public land managers to assimilate and mobilize vast amounts of information, and requires scientists to find ways to communicate research results to literally millions of landowners.  Because of recent advances in computer technology and the graphic arts, computer simulation and visualization have the potential to become powerful tools for forestry analysis, education, and communication.  The ultimate products from improved use of these technologies - Decision Support Tools (DST) - are improved management of forests and better conditions on the land.

Program Mission

The mission of the Eastern Decision Support Consortium is to increase the ability of these tools to reach their potential to improve the health of eastern forests by:

  • Providing a single point of contact where users can match software to their needs and receive technical support;
  • Organizing and networking training and outreach for all the software, ranging from training extension foresters to developing curricula for K-12 teachers to use the software to increase environmental literacy;
  • Ensuring the ongoing maintenance of the software to accommodate changes in operating systems and other technologies;
  • Improving the software by creating an integrated and synergistic environment for future development;
  • Improving the focus of the science on which these tools are based by providing a central source of user needs and feedback
  • Enhancing delivery of Conservation Education programs to K-12 audiences and private forestland owners.

Core Activities

Combining the US Forest Service and Yale's academic and research expertise with the practical experience of private sector leaders, we bring a large forest ecosystem modeling and decision support community together to further develop innovative strategies and solutions to quantiative forest management, while promoting interdisciplinary assessments of the future course for decision support. Our research, virtual seminars, and publications provide practicioners and the public with topical, scientifically-based information. As part of the School's curriculum, we offer courses, seminars, and workshops, for students and managers and for public awareness. Mid-career courses and off-campus workshops in available spatial and non-spatial decision support tools are offered as part of the Eastern Decision Support Consortium mandate.

The consortium is currently located in the Greeley Laboratory, 370 Prospect Street. There are numerous opportunities for students and the public to be involved with the research taking place through this program.

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