An example of the variability and distribution of major ecosystem disturbance types in North America, compiled from 2005 to 2009. Forest disturbance varies by topography, vegetation, weather patterns, climate gradients, and proximity to human settlement. Severity is mapped as a percent change in a satellite-derived Disturbance Index. White areas represent natural annual variability, orange represents moderate severity, and red represents high severity.f4e0a73e-f6c2-451f-9af1-07aa1cffdc05 Fire dominates much of the western forest ecosystems, and storms affect the Gulf Coast. Insect damage is widespread but currently concentrated in western regions, and timber harvest is predominant in the Southeast. (Figure source: modified from Goetz et al. 2012,088ac1ea-02ab-48cf-b9e2-c8a1a0501e16 Copyright 2012 American Geophysical Union).