USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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The USA-NPN, phenology, and our partners are often in the news. Follow some recent stories below.

Image credit:
Sara N. Schaffer


  • Early spring leaf out across the Southeast
    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    Spring leaf out is off to an early start this year in much of the Southeast. USA-NPN's Director Theresa Crimmins joined Jim Cantore and Stephanie Abrams on The Weather Channel on January 23, 2020 to talk about the implications of an early spring. Some locations are seeing spring leaf out three weeks ahead of normal (a long-term average of 1981-2010).

    Other news outlets have also picked up on the early spring: 

    Washington Post: Indicators of early spring are flourishing all around Washington (Feb 21, 2020)

    New Orleans Public Radio (WNNO): Spring Is Coming Earlier And Plants Are Confused (Feb 19, 2020)

    Washington Post: Spring has arrived weeks early in the South. Flowers are blooming and that could be a problem (Feb 13, 2020)

    Gizmodo: Spring is here...but it's still winter (Feb 11, 2020) January's mild temperatures gave spring a false start in parts of the south (Jan 23, 2020)

    ClimateWire: Warm winter has leaves in the Southeast popping out way early (Jan 23, 2020)

    KXAN Weather Blog (Austin, TX): Spring leaves predicted to be out earlier than normal (Jan 22, 2020)

    SFGate: Warm winter has leaves in the Southeast popping out way early (Jan 22, 2020)

    Bloomberg News: Warm winter has leaves in the Southeast popping out way early (Jan 21, 2020)

  • 2.5 million NEON records added to National Phenology Database
    Thursday, November 14, 2019

    The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) uses USA-NPN observational protocols to track plant phenology. In October of 2019, we ingested over 2.5 million phenology data records collected on more than 5,000 individual plants observed at 78 NEON sites collected between 2013-2019 into the USA-NPN's National Phenology Database. These data are reflected in the map of observation records below and are available for visualization ( and download ( 

    Nature's Notebook and NEON records as of Oct 2019

  • Buffelgrass Pheno Forecasts inform time to treat invasive grass
    Thursday, August 8, 2019

    Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) is an invasive plant that impacts native desert plant and animal communities in the Southwestern US. It creates substantial fire risk in ecosystems that are not adapted to large-scale intense burning. This summer, the USA-NPN developed a Pheno Forecast, our first for an invasive plant, to predict when buffelgrass reaches a level of greenness where herbicide treatment is most effective. These maps are based on known precipitation thresholds and predict green-up one to two weeks in the future. We invite managers and community members to report their sightings of buffelgrass and the level of greenness at buffelgrass.usanpn.orgLearn moreabout other the USA-NPN's other Pheno Forecasts.

  • Asian longhorned beetles are emerging in the Northeast
    Monday, July 1, 2019

    Invasive wood-boring Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) pose a significant risk to northeast forests, as generalist pests. Adult beetles are now emerging. 

    Asian longhorned beetle forecast 7/1/2019

    While the non-native Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is contained to four quarantine areas, its expansion would cause widespread damage to eastern forest, particularly since it feeds on a wide variety of trees. 

    Asian longhorned beetle Photo: USDAThe beetles overwinter as both eggs and pupae. Adults are now emerging during the summer months, and are typically active until late fall. Females lay eggs just beneath the bark of trees, which look like little wounds on the tree, and you can sometimes see the chew marks on the edges. After the egg hatches, the larva tunnels into the growing layers of the tree and eventually into the woody tree tissue; if you have a fallen branch or are cutting wood, you may see this tunneling. As the larva tunnels and feeds, it often pushes sawdust-like material or excrement, called frass out onto the ground around the tree or onto the tree branches. Adults then emerge from the tree leaving perfectly round exit holes. 

    You can use USA-NPN’s Pheno Forecast to find out when the first generation of adults are emerging from their overwintering pupae in your area. This helps with detection, and also with preventing the spread of the insect, because infested trees need to be reported and properly destroyed.

    If you observe an adult Asian longhorned beetle, report it online immediately to USDA (or call 1-866-702-9938). Additional resources are available through USDA, Ohio, New York and Massachusetts Extension.

    You can report the life stages and any tree damage you observe to the USA-NPN Pest Patrol campaign to help better understand the species and check the forecast.

  • USA-NPN wins USGS's Shoemaker Award for Communications Product Excellence
    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    Our Status of Spring webpage has won the US Geological Survey's 2018 Shoemaker Award for Communications Product Excellence in the Webpage/Website category! This award recognizes the best efforts among USGS programs to communicate science to non-technical audiences. The Status of Spring webpage is a powerful tool that provides a clear and engaging way to track the progression of spring across the country.