Earth  ID: 13614

40 Years of Forest Recovery

It has been forty years since Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, in southwestern Washington, near the Oregon border. Fifty-seven people lost their lives in the disaster, and huge swaths of the surrounding forest were levelled. Both before and after the eruption, Landsat satellites were taking regular observations of the area, and their data is being used to study how forests recover from a very large disturbance.

Sean Healey is a research ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Service, United State Forest Service. Along with his colleague Zhiqiang Yang, Sean has been studying the forests in the area to determine how the structure of the forest changes with disturbances. He is interesteed in knowing the changes in carbon stocks and the dynamics of forest recovery. Sean and Zhiqiang have used Landsat data to create predictions of the percent tree cover as the trees and other vegetation regrows.

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Landsat satellites have been consistently gathering data about our planet since 1972. They continue to improve and expand this unparalleled record of Earth's changing landscapes for the benefit of all.


Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Lead Producer
Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET): Technical Support
Sean Healey (U.S. Forest Service): Scientist
Zhiqiang Yang (Oregon State University): Scientist
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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This item is part of these series:
Geophysical Changes Over Time
Mt. St. Helens
Narrated Movies

DLESE >> Agricultural science
DLESE >> Biology
DLESE >> Forestry
SVS >> Mt. St. Helens
SVS >> Volcano
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Agriculture >> Forest Science
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Agriculture >> Forest Science >> Forest Harvesting and Engineering
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Biosphere >> Terrestrial Ecosystems >> Forests
SVS >> Biosphere >> Forestry
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version