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Urban FIA Program

URBAN FIA Program:

Urban trees and natural spaces are critical to human health and well-being. A neighborhood’s trees moderate air and water pollution, reduce heating and cooling costs, and provide shade and shelter from the hot summer sun. Healthy trees can provide wildlife habitat and improve real estate values. Research shows that trees improve mental health, strengthen social connections, and reduce crime rates. Trees, parks, and other green spaces get people outside, helping to foster active living and neighborhood pride. We can all appreciate these benefits, and the more we know about the trees in our cities and towns the better we can nurture them and sustain their benefits. Generally speaking we seem to know quite a bit about traditional rural forests, but what do we know about forests in developed areas? What do they look like? How are they managed? How are they changing? These are many of the same questions that the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) program sets out to explore in its’ rural based inventory.

The FIA program has established itself as the only comprehensive field-based and annually updated inventory of all forest ownerships for each of the 50 states in terms of measuring forest land; which is defined as forested areas that are not developed for nonforest land uses, are at least an acre in size and 120’ in width, and contain a Live Plus Missing Canopy Cover of at least 10%. FIA only collects minimal data on areas that do not meet this definition. Even though many of these areas do contain trees, they don’t meet the historic FIA definition of forest land and therefore many of these trees are not included in the overall inventory. In order to prevent such areas from falling through the gaps the FIA program has collaborated with i-Tree a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree Tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide. This collaboration has fused the infrastructure of the FIA program and the urban inventory expertise of the I-tree program together to form the new Urban FIA protocols which will be used to produce design-based estimates of the quantity, health, composition, and benefits of urban trees and forests.



Urban FIA Implementation Status:

Urban FIA Field Guide:
The National Urban FIA Field Guide describes the standards, codes, methods, and definitions used throughout the program and are consistent across all FIA units. The Regional guides include specific regional items and notes related to their CORE FIA program.

National Urban Field Guides

Regional Urban Field Guides:

Field Guide Clarifications Statements:

National Certification Tools:

Regional Certification Tools:

Certification Tests:

Urban FIA Quality Control Score Program:

Urban FIA Reporting:

National Landowner Survey (NLS):
Urban areas in the conterminous United States occupy 2.7% (60.2 million acres) of the land base and contain approximately 80.7% of the US population. Urban population growth and land development are expected to continue their upward trends. Healthy urban tree canopy and sustainable urban land management can help mitigate the environmental impacts of urbanization. The USDA Forest Service’s Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis (Urban FIA) program has made efforts to improve our understanding the biophysical aspects of the urban tree canopy, and these efforts are now complemented by the National Landowner Survey: a concerted national effort to examine the social dimensions of the urban forest, i.e. the private landowners who manage the urban forest and other urban green space.

The National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) is the socioeconomic dimension of the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and is administered by the Family Forest Research Center. As FIA continues to expand its inventory into urban areas, the FFRC is working with USDA Forest Service scientists to develop and deploy an urban counterpart to the NWOS in order to better understand the critical link between society and urban natural resource management.

National Urban Timber Product Outputs (UTPO):
FIA conducts Timber Products Output (TPO) to estimate industrial and non-industrial uses of roundwood in a state. To estimate industrial uses of roundwood, all primary wood-using mills in a state are canvassed. Questions relating to the use of wood from urban areas will be added to future TPO surveys.


Last Modified: 11/07/2018