USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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Landscape image showing mist rising of water in front of trees that have fall color.

The USDA Forest Service (FS) and the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) collaborate to better understand and respond to climate impacts on forests.

Image credit:
A Rosemartin

USDA Forest Service and USA-NPN Partnership

Definition of Phenology

Why Phenology?

Seasonal cycles in plants and animals are shifting in response to a changing climate. An understanding of these changes can inform climate adaptation, from vulnerability assessments to carbon stewardship and species management. Citizen science phenology efforts are also a growing way to engage visitors in monitoring and understanding climate change impacts.

A room of people discuss and draw on a white board, they are discussing the web of relationships around Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, a forest pest.


The Office of Sustainability and Climate and the USA National Phenology Network are collaborating to develop data, tools and partnerships to support monitoring and climate adaptation across the National Forest System. The USA-NPN provides observational data on many species of interest to forest managers, as well as tools for engaging the public in data collection, described below.

Changes in the Timing of Spring at National Forests

Spring is arriving earlier across much of the United States. The USA-NPN hosts a nationally standardized bioclimatic indicator of spring arrival, called the Spring Index, to help shed light on patterns of spring arrival. We've created two products to support monitoring and management at the forest unit level (learn more about the data and methods):

  • Long-term patterns: How do recent springs compared to the 122 year record?

    Long Term Patterns in Spring

  • Recent springs: What patterns do we see in recent springs? 

Spring Arrival dashboard

Data collection campaigns

The USA-NPN leads several data collection campaigns that are relevant to USFS focused on the timing of leaf out of deciduous trees, presence of insect pests, and flowering of nectar plants important to pollinators.

Green wave campaign logo Quercus Quest logo Pest Patrol logo Nectar Connectors logo
Local Phenology Leader Certifcation CourseCertified Local Phenology Leader badge

Local Phenology Programs (LPPs) are efforts led by organizations or community groups that seek to use phenology to answer locally-relevant science questions, inform management decisions, or educated and engage visitors and volunteers. Local Phenology Leaders (LPLs) engage groups of observers in collecting data for an LPP. The USA-NPN offers a Local Phenology Leader Certification Course each spring and fall that walks LPLs though how to plan and implement a long-term phenology monitoring program.

Forecasts of pests and invasive speciesEmerald ash borer Pheno Forecast map

The USA-NPN makes available forecasts of pests that impact national forests as well as invasive grasses including buffelgrass and red brome. A selection of Pheno Forecasts particularly relevant for the USFS is in the table below; the full list of Forecasts may be found here. You can also sign up to be notified by email approximately two weeks and again six days ahead of pest activity at your location.    

Insect Pest

Forecasted life stage

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Spongy moth (Lymantria dispar)

View Pheno Forecast for caterpillar emergence

Sign up

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis)

View Pheno Forecast for adult emergence and egg hatch

Sign up

Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis)

View Pheno Forecast for adult emergence

Sign up

Hemlock Woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae)

View Pheno Forecast for eggs and active nymphs 

Sign up