USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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The USA National Phenology Network assists natural resource, public health, and city managers to collect and apply phenology information to support management. 

Image credit:
Erin E Posthumus

Managers & Decision Makers

Phenology information can be used to support restoration, invasive species management, agriculture, climate adaptation, human health and more.

Resources available 

The USA-NPN offers tools that managers and decision-makers can use to ask and answer questions, including:

Examples of applying phenology to decision making:

Preventing auto accidents caused by insect swarms Every year, millions of mayflies emerge from the Mississippi River in short-duration events. Mayfly swarms can cause driving hazards such as low visibility and slick road conditions. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is tracking the timing of mayfly emergence events along the Upper Mississippi River corridor using Nature’s Notebook to advise managers when to take measures to ensure the public’s safety such as turning off lights on bridges and encouraging drivers to stay off roads inundated with mayflies. Minimizing the accumulation of mayflies on bridges can save up to $4,000 in cleanup costs per bridge. Learn more about our work with the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Controlling buffelgrass in Saguaro National Park Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) is a critical threat to the native vegetation communities of the Sonoran desert, at Saguaro National Park. Using phenology observations collected via Nature’s Notebook, precipitation data, and satellite imagery, US Geological Survey scientists identified the sequence of rainfall events that trigger conditions that maximize effectiveness treatment for this species while minimizing impacts to native vegetation. See the Bufflegrass Forecast and learn more about our work with with the National Park Service in this 2021 Park Stewardship Forum Article and on the website for our collaboration.

Supporting Indigenous Self-determination In working with Native American tribes and indigenous people, the USA-NPN has agreed to an indigenous framework of relationship and responsibility. Our priorities are adopted from our collaborators: climate resilience for indigenous communities, intergenerational transfer of knowledge and appropriate use of the tools of Western science. The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission uses USA-NPN protocols to look for possible changes in the phenology of plants in the Great Lakes Region which might necessitate changes in the timing of traditional harvests. Learn more about the Indigenous Phenology Network.

We also work closely with the USDA Forest Service on understanding and adapting to climate impacts.

More examples of decision support in USA National Phenology Network Supports Decision Making