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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
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Forest Inventory and Analysis

 

Forest Inventory and Analysis Glossary

Average annual mortality of growing stock: The average cubic foot volume of sound wood in growing-stock trees that died in one year.

Average annual mortality of sawtimber: The average board foot volume of sound wood in sawtimber trees that died in one year, between 1999 and 2003.

Average annual net growth of growing stock: The annual change in cubic foot volume of sound wood in live sawtimber and poletimber trees, and the total volume of trees entering these classes through ingrowth, less volume losses resulting from natural causes, between 1999 and 2003.

Average annual net growth of sawtimber: The annual change in the board foot volume of live sawtimber trees, and the total volume of trees reaching sawtimber size, less volume losses resulting from natural causes, between 1999 and 2003.

Average annual removals from growing stock: The average net growing-stock volume in growing-stock trees removed annually for roundwood forest products, in addition to the volume of logging residues and the volume of other removals.

Average annual removals from sawtimber: The average net board foot sawtimber volume of live sawtimber trees removed annually for roundwood forest products, in addition to the volume of logging residues and the volume of other removals, between 1999 and 2003. 

Basal area: Tree area in square feet of the cross section at breast height of a single tree.  When the basal areas of all trees in a stand are summed, the result is usually expressed as square feet of basal area per acre.

Bioindicator Species: A tree, woody shrub, or nonwoody herb species that responds to ambient levels of ozone pollution with distinct visible foliar symptoms that are easy to diagnose.

Biomass: The aboveground weight of wood and bark in live trees 1.0 inch (2.5 cm) DBH and larger from the ground to the tip of the tree, excluding all foliage. The weight of wood and bark in lateral limbs, secondary limbs, and twigs under 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) in diameter at the point of occurrence on sampling-size trees is included but is excluded on poletimber and sawtimber-size trees. Biomass is typically expressed as green or oven-dry weight and the units are tons.

Bulk density: The mass of soil per unit volume.  A measure of the ratio of pore space to solid materials in a given soil.  Expressed in units of grams per cubic centimeter of oven dry soil.

Commercial species: Tree species suitable for industrial wood products.

Compacted live crown ratio: The percent of the total length of the tree which supports a full, live crown. For trees that have uneven length crowns, ocularly transfer lower branches to fill holes in the upper portions of the crown, until a full, even crown is created.

County and municipal: An ownership class of public lands owned by counties or local public agencies, or lands leased by these governmental units for more than 50 years.

Cropland: Land under cultivation within the last 24 months, including cropland harvested, crop failures, cultivated summer fallow, idle cropland used only for pasture, orchards, active Christmas tree plantations indicated by annual shearing, nurseries, and land in soil improvement crops, but excluding land cultivated in developing improved pasture.

Crown: The part of a tree or woody plant bearing live branches or foliage.

Crown dieback: This is recent mortality of branches with fine twigs, which begins at the terminal portion of a branch and proceeds toward the trunk.  Dieback is considered only when it occurs in the upper and outer portions of the tree.  When whole branches are dead in the upper crown, without obvious signs of damage such as breaks or animal injury, assumed the branches died from the terminal portion of the branch.  Dead branches in the lower portion of the live crown are assumed to have died from competition and shading.  Dead branches in the lower live crown are not considered as part of crown dieback, unless there is continuous dieback from the upper and outer crown down to those branches.

Cull tree: Live trees that are unsuitable for the production of some roundwood products, now or prospectively. Cull trees can include those with decay (rotten cull) or poor form, limbiness, or splits (rough cull). Rough cull is suitable for pulpwood and other fiber products.

Decay class: Qualitative assessment of stage of decay (5 classes) of coarse woody debris based on visual assessments of color of wood, presence/absence of twigs and branches, texture of rotten portions, and structural integrity. 

Diameter class: A classification of trees based on diameter outside bark, measured at breast height 4.5 feet (DBH) (1.37m) above the ground or at root collar (DRC). Note: Diameter classes are commonly in 2-inch (5cm) increments, beginning with 2-inches (5cm). Each class provides a range of values with the class name being the approximate mid-point. For example, the 6-inch class (15-cm class) includes trees 5.0 through 6.9 inches (12.7 cm through 17.5 cm) DBH, inclusive.

Down woody material (DWM): DWM is dead material on the ground in various stages of decay. It includes coarse and fine wood material. Previous named down woody debris (DWD). The depth of duff layer, litter layer, and overall fuelbed; fuel loading on the microplot; and residue piles are also measured as part of the DWM indicator for FIA.

Duff: A soil layer dominated by organic material derived from the decomposition of plant and animal litter and deposited on either an organic or a mineral surface.  This layer is distinguished from the litter layer in that the original organic material has undergone sufficient decomposition that the source of this material (e.g., individual plant parts) can no longer be identified. 

Effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC): The sum of cations that a soil can adsorb in its natural pH.  Expressed in units of centimoles of positive charge per kilogram of soil.

Federal Land: An ownership class of public lands owned by the U.S. Government.

Fiber products:  Products derived from wood and bark residues, such as pulp, composition board products, and wood chips for export.

Fine materials: Wood residues not suitable for chipping, such as planer shavings and sawdust.

Fine woody debris (FWD): Downed, dead branches, twigs, and small tree or shrub boles <3” (7.4 cm) in diameter not attached to a living or standing dead source.  

Forest industry Land: An ownership class of private lands owned by a company or individual(s) operating a primary wood-processing plants.

Forest land: Land at least 10 percent stocked by forest trees of any size, or land formerly having such tree cover, and not currently developed for a nonforest use. The minimum area for classification as forest land is one acre. Roadside, stream-side, and shelterbelt strips of timber must be at least 120 feet wide to qualify as forest land. Unimproved roads and trails, streams and other bodies of water, or natural clearings in forested areas are classified as forest, if less than 120 feet in width or one acre in size. Grazed woodlands, reverting fields, and pastures that are not actively maintained are included if the above qualifications are satisfied. Forest land includes three sub-categories: timberland, reserved forest land and other forest land.

Forest type: A classification of forest land based upon and named for the tree species that forms the plurality of live-tree stocking. A forest type classification for a field location indicates the predominant live-tree species cover for the field location; hardwoods and softwoods are the first group to be determine predominant group, and Forest Type is selected from the predominant group.

Forest type group: A combination of forest types that share closely associated species or site requirements.

Major eastern forest type groups:
White-red-jack pine: Forests in which eastern white pine, red pine, or jack pine, singly or in combination, comprise a plurality of the stocking.  Common associates include hemlock, aspen, birch, and maple.

Oak-pine: Forests in which hardwoods (usually upland oaks) comprise a plurality of the stocking, but in which pine or eastern redcedar comprises 25-50 percent of the stocking.  Common associates include gum, hickory, and yellow-poplar.

Oak-hickory: Forests in which upland oaks or hickory, singly or in combination, comprise a plurality of the stocking except where pines comprise 25-50 percent, in which case the stand is classified as oak-pine.  Common associates include yellow-poplar, elm, maple, and black walnut.

Oak-gum-cypress: Bottomland forests in which tupelo, blackgum, sweetgum, oaks, or southern cypress, singly or in combination, comprise a plurality of the stocking except where pines comprise 25-50 percent, in which case the stand is classified as oak-pine.  Common associates include cottonwood, willow, ash, elm, hackberry, and maple.

Elm-ash-cottonwood: Forests in which elm, ash, or cottonwood, singly or in combination, comprise a plurality of the stocking.  Common associates include willow, sycamore, beech, and maple.

Maple-beech-birch: Forests in which maple, beech, or yellow birch, singly or in combination, comprise a plurality of the stocking.  Common associates include hemlock, elm, basswood, and white pine.

Aspen-birch: Forests in which aspen, balsam poplar, paper birch, or gray birch, singly or in combination, comprise a plurality of the stocking.  Common associates include maple and balsam fir.

Growing stock tree: All live trees 5.0 inches (12.7) cm) DBH or larger that meet (now or prospectively) regional merchantability requirements in terms of saw-log length, grade, and cull deductions. Excludes rough and rotten cull trees.

Hardwood: Tree species belonging to the botanical subdivision Angiospermae, class Dicotyledonous, usually broad-leaved and deciduous.

Industrial wood: All roundwood products, except firewood.

Land: The area of dry land and land temporarily or partly covered by water, such as marshes, swamps, and river flood plains.

Litter: Undecomposed or only partially decomposed organic material that can be readily identified (e.g., plant leaves, twigs, ect.).

Live cull: A classification that includes live, cull trees.  When associated with volume, it is the net volume in live, cull trees that are 5.0 inches d.b.h. and larger.

Log grade: A log classification based on external characteristics as indicators of quality or value.  Also see Tree grade.  (See USDA, 2003 on tree grading field techniques.)

Logging residues: The unused portions of trees cut or destroyed during harvest and left in the woods.

Merchantable: Refers to a pulpwood or sawlog section that meets pulpwood or sawlog specifications, respectively.

National forest: An ownership class of Federal lands, designated by Executive order or statute as National Forests or purchase units, and other lands under the administration of the Forest Service including experimental areas.

Net annual growth: The average annual net increase in the volume of trees during the period between inventories.  Components include the increment in net volume of trees at the beginning of the specific year surviving to its end, plus the net volume of trees reaching the minimum size class during the year, minus the volume of trees that died during the year, and minus the net volume of trees that became cull trees during the year.

Net volume in cubic feet: The gross volume in cubic feet less deductions for rot, roughness, and poor form.  Volume is computed for the central stem from a 1-foot stump to a minimum 4.0-inch top diameter outside bark, or to the point where the central stem breaks into limbs.

Noncommercial species: Tree species of typically small size, poor form, or inferior quality, which normally do not develop into trees suitable for industrial wood products.

Nonforest land: Land that does not support or has never supported, forests and lands formerly forested where use of timber management is precluded by development for other uses. Includes area used for crops, improved pasture, residential areas, city parks, improved roads of any width and adjoining rights-of-way, powerline clearings of any width, and noncensus water.  If intermingled in forest areas, unimproved roads and nonforest strips must be more than 120 feet (36.6m) wide, and clearings, etc.,  more than one acre (0.4ha) in size, to qualify as nonforest land.

Nonindustrial private: An ownership class of private lands where the owner does not operate wood-using plants.

Nonstocked areas: Timberland less than 10 percent stocked with all live trees.

Other red oaks: A group of species in the genus Quercus that includes scarlet oak, northern pin oak, southern red oak, bear oak, shingle oak, laurel oak, blackjack oak, water oak, pin oak, willow oak, and black oak.

Other white oaks: A group of species in the genus Quercus that includes overcup oak, chestnut oak, and post oak.

Ownership: A legal entity having an ownership interest in land regardless of the number of people involved. An ownership may be an individual; a combination of persons; a legal entity such as corporation, partnership, club, or trust; or a public agency. An ownership has control of a parcel or group of parcels of land.

Ozone: O3. A regional, gaseous air pollutant produced primarily through sunlight-driven chemical reactions of NO2 and hydrocarbons in the atmosphere and causing foliar injury to deciduous trees, conifers, shrubs, and herbaceous species.

Ozone bioindicator site: An open area used for ozone injury evaluations on ozone-sensitive species. The area must meet certain site selection guidelines on size, condition, and plant counts to be used for ozone injury evaluations in FIA.

Physiographic class: A measure of soil and water conditions that affect tree growth on a site.  The physiographic classes are
Xeric: Very dry soils where excessive drainage seriously limits both growth and species occurrence.  These sites are usually on upland and upper half slopes.
Xeromesic: Moderately dry soils where excessive drainage limits growth and species occurrence to some extent.  These sites are usually on the lower half slopes.
Mesic: Deep, well-drained soils.  Growth and species occurrence are limited only by climate.  These include all cove sites and bottomlands along intermittent streams.
Hydromesic: Moderately wet soils where insufficient drainage or infrequent flooding limits growth and species occurrence to some extent.
Hydric: Very wet sites where excess water seriously limits both growth and species occurrence. 

Poletimber trees: Live trees at least 5.0 inches in d.b.h., but smaller than sawtimber trees.

Primary wood-using mill: A mill that converts roundwood products into other wood products.  Common examples are sawmills that convert saw logs into lumber and pulpmills that convert pulpwood into wood pulp.

Productivity class: A classification of forest land in terms of potential annual cubic-foot volume growth per acre at culmination of mean annual increment in fully stocked natural stands.

Pulpwood: Roundwood, whole-tree chips, or wood residues used for the production of wood pulp.

Reserved forest land: Land permanently reserved from wood products utilization through statute or administrative designation. Examples include National Forest wilderness areas and National Parks and Monuments. 

Residues: Bark and woody materials that are generated in primary wood-using mills when roundwood products are converted to other products.  Examples are slabs, edgings, trimmings, miscuts, sawdust, shavings, veneer cores and clippings, and pulp screenings.  Includes bark residues and wood residues (both coarse and fine materials) but excludes logging residues.

Rotten tree: A live tree of commercial species that does not contain a saw log now or prospectively primarily because of rot (that is, when rot accounts for more than 50 percent of the total cull volume).

Rough tree: (a) A live tree of commercial species that does not contain a saw log now or prospectively primarily because of roughness (that is, when sound cull due to such factors as poor form, splits, or cracks accounts for more than 50 percent of the total cull volume) or (b) a live tree of noncommercial species.

Roundwood products: Logs, bolts, or other round timber generated from harvesting trees for industrial or consumer uses. Includes sawlogs; veneer and cooperage logs and bolts; pulpwood; fuelwood; pilings; poles; posts; hewn ties; mine timbers; and various other round, split or hewn products.

Salvable dead tree: A downed or standing dead tree considered currently or potentially merchantable by regional standards.

Saplings: Live trees 1.0 to 4.9 inches (2.5-12.5 cm) in diameter (DBH/DRC).

Saw log: A log meeting minimum standards of diameter, length, and defect, including logs at least 8 feet long, sound and straight, and with a minimum diameter inside bark of 6 inches for softwoods and 8 inches for hardwoods, or meeting other combinations of size and defect specified by regional standards. 

Sawtimber tree: A live tree of commercial species containing at least a 12-foot sawlog or two noncontiguous saw logs 8 feet or longer, and meeting regional specifications for freedom from defect.  Softwoods must be at least 9.0 inches d.b.h.  Hardwoods must be at least 11.0 inches diameter outside bark (d.o.b.).

Sawtimber volume: Net volume of the saw-log portion of live sawtimber in board feet, International 1/4-inch rule (unless specified otherwise), from stump to a minimum 7.0 inches top d.o.b. for softwoods and a minimum 9.0 inches top d.o.b. for hardwoods.

Seedlings: Live trees smaller than 1.0 inch (2.5 cm) DBH/DRC that are at least 6 inches (15.2 cm) in height for softwoods and 12-inches (30.5 cm) in height for hardwoods.

Select red oaks: A group of species in the genus Quercus that includes cherrybark oak, northern red oak, and Shumard oak.

Select white oaks: A group of species in the genus Quercus that includes white oak, swamp white oak, bur oak, swamp chestnut oak, and chinkapin oak.

Site index: The average total height that dominant and co-dominant trees in fully-stocked, even-aged stands will obtain at key ages (usually 25 or 50 years).

Snag: A standing dead tree.  In the current inventory, a snag must be 5.0 inches d.b.h./d.r.c. and 4.5 feet tall, and have a lean angle less than 45 degrees from vertical.  A snag my be either self-supported by its roots, or supported by another tree or snag.

Softwood: A coniferous tree, usually evergreen, having needles or scale-like leaves.

Sound dead: The net volume in salvable dead trees.

Stand: A group of trees on a minimum of 1 acre of forest land that is stocked by forest trees of any size.

Stand-size class: A classification of forest land based on the size class of all live trees in the area.  The classes include

Nonstocked: Forest land stocked with less than 10 percent of full stocking with all live trees.  Examples are recently cutover areas or recently reverted agricultural fields.

Seedling-sapling: Forest land stocked with at least 10 percent of full stocking with all live trees with half or more of such stocking in seedlings or saplings or both.

Poletimber: Forest land stocked with at least 10 percent of full stocking with all live trees with half or more of such stocking in poletimber or sawtimber trees or both, and in which the stocking of poletimber exceeds that of sawtimber.

Sawtimber: Forest land stocked with at least 10 percent of full stocking with all live trees with half or more of such stocking in poletimber or sawtimber trees or both, and in which the stocking of sawtimber is at least equal to that of poletimber.

State land: An ownership class of public lands owned by States or lands leased by States for more than 50 years.

Stocking: 1) At the tree level, stocking is the density value assigned to a sampled tree (usually in terms of numbers of trees or basal area per acre), expressed as a percent of the total tree density required to fully utilize the growth potential of the land.
2) At the stand level, stocking refers to the sum of the stocking values of all trees sampled.

Timberland: Forest land that is producing or is capable of producing crops of industrial wood and not withdrawn from timber utilization by statute or administrative regulation.  (Note: Areas qualifying as timberland are capable of producing in excess of 20 cubic feet per acre per year of industrial wood in natural stands.  Currently inaccessible and inoperable areas are included.)  

Timber products output: All timber products cut from roundwood and byproducts of wood manufacturing plants.  Roundwood products include logs, bolts, or other round sections cut from growing-stock trees, cull trees, salvable dead trees, trees on nonforest land, noncommercial species, sapling-size trees, and limbwood.  Byproducts from primary manufacturing plants include slabs, edging, trimmings, miscuts, sawdust, shavings, veneer cores and clippings, and screenings of pulpmills that are used as pulpwood chips or other products.

Tree: A woody perennial plant, typically large, with a single well-defined stem carrying a more or less definite crown; sometimes defined as attaining a minimum diameter of 3 inches (7.6) and a minimum height of 15 ft (4.6 m) at maturity. For FIA, any plant on the tree list in the current field manual is measured as a tree.

Tree size class: A classification of trees based on diameter at breast height, including sawtimber trees, poletimber trees, saplings, and seedlings.

Tops: The wood of a tree above the merchantable height (or above the point on the stem 4.0 inches diameter outside bark (d.o.b.).  It includes the usable material in the uppermost stem.

Urban forest land: Land that would otherwise meet the criteria for timberland but is in an urban-suburban area surrounded by commercial, industrial, or residential development and not likely to be managed for the production of industrial wood products on a continuing basis.  Wood removed would be for land clearing, fuelwood, or esthetic purposes.  Such forest land may be associated with industrial, commercial, residential subdivision, industrial parks, golf course perimeters, airport buffer strips, and public urban parks that qualify as forest land.

Unreserved forest land: Forest land not withdrawn from harvest by statute or administrative regulation.  Includes forest lands that are not capable of producing in excess of 20 cubic feet per acre per year of industrial wood in natural stands.

Veneer log: A roundwood product from which veneer is sliced or sawn and that usually meets certain standards of minimum diameter and length and maximum defect.

Weight: The weight of wood and bark, oven-dry basis (approximately 12 percent moisture content).

 

 

Last Modified: 05/29/2014