MRCC Vegetation Impact Program

Welcome to the Vegetation Impact Program

The Vegetation Impact Program (VIP) is a monitoring, assessment, and networking program hosted by the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.  Major impacts on vegetation are often driven by weather and climate conditions.  For example, damaging frost events, drought, and even flooding can impact vegetation in areas of agriculture, horticulture, nurseries, or home gardening.  Pests and disease are also driven by environmental conditions. 

The VIP integrates online climate monitoring information, weather and climate outlooks, and stakeholder input to provide a suite of resources that can help minimize negative vegetation impacts, mitigate climate variability effects, and develop adaptation plans to better prepare for extreme and ever-changing environmental conditions.

Frost/Freeze Guidance Project

The Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC) is providing collaboration among weather forecasters, University Extension specialists, state climatologists, and other vegetation experts to improve communication about the state of vegetation and its susceptibility to potentially damaging low air temperatures. To learn more, see our "About Frost/Freeze Guidance" page.

Other Products

Chilling Hours Maps

Many plants become dormant during the cool season.  If the cool season is not cool enough for a long enough period, many fruit-producing plants have a difficult time knowing when to overcome dormancy.  Like growing degree-day units that are used to track temperature differences over a certain threshold over a period of time, chilling hours offer a way to track length of exposure to optimum dormancy temperatures.  Maps of accumulated and chilling hours and chilling hours departure have been developed for growers to monitor the number of chilling hours over a dormant season based upon popular chilling temperature ranges. For more information, see our "About Chilling Hours Product" page.

Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI)

The Keetch-Bryam Drought Index (KBDI) is one of the few daily indices used to monitor drought.  It is most often utilized in the wildfire community, for it can give a real-time indication of the drying potential for the finer fuels such as grasses and shrubs.  While most commonly used to monitor the risk for wildfire ignition, because it is one of the only drought monitoring indices that are updated on a daily basis, it also offers the potential for many other vegetation applications. To learn more, see our "About Keetch-Byram Drought Index" page.

Stress Degree Days (SDD)

All plants have an optimum range of temperatures for growth.  While it may be obvious that temperatures too low will inhibit growth (if not damage the plant), temperatures that are too high can cause stress for the plant.  Stress Degree Days (SDD) are a way of tracking how much stress a type of plant has been subjected to within its growing season. To learn more, see our "About Stress Degree Days" page.

GIS Products Map 

The GIS Products Map contains the Chilling Hours, Keetch-Byram Drought Index, and Stress Degree Days maps, all in one GIS interface. To learn more about the individual maps, see their "About" pages.