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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
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Inventory, Monitoring , and Assessment

Development and Coordination of Monitoring Programs in Foreign Countries

Research Issue

[photo:] View of Eurasia, including Russian forests, taken with the Terra satellite's MODIS sensor. Foreign countries have inventory and monitoring needs similar to those in the United States. Due to lack of expertise, political changes that lead to a lack of continuity in forestry staff, or lack of funding, many countries do not have a national forest inventory. Sound, scientifically defensible monitoring programs that provide results that are compatible with those of other countries are needed for both national and global forest resource assessments.

Our Research

National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center (NIMAC) is working with the Honduran Forest Service and the Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Forestales (National Forestry School) to develop a monitoring effort in Honduran forests. As part of this work, NIMAC is collaboratively developing a monitoring design tool, a data collection tool, and a database and reporting tool that not only Honduras, but also other Spanish speaking countries, will be able to use.

NIMAC has participated in several planning meetings with Russian forestry officials in order to help establish a Russian national forest inventory. Although Russia has been inventorying their managed stands for over 75 years, they have never assessed all their forests, which comprise a quarter of the world’s forests.  The Russian Forest Service continues to seek input and review comments as they develop their national forest inventory.

[photo:] View of a pine savannah in Honduras Expected Outcomes

The inventory and the tool being developed for the Honduras project will help this country address international obligations to monitor forest health and condition indicators, provide a credible, scientific foundation for making management decisions for sustainable forestry, contribute to the rural and national economy through wise use of their forests, and contribute to the body of institutional knowledge in the international forest monitoring community. This program could serve as a model for other Latin American nations interested in conducting national forest inventories. The establishment of the Russian forest inventory will be a vital first step in characterizing large areas of forest that have previously not been inventoried and aid in international reporting. NIMAC’s work with Russia and other countries not only helps the Forest Service meets its international technology transfer obligations, but allows us to accumulate knowledge that can be used to improve our own inventory and management methods.

Research Participants

Principal Investigator

  • Charles T. Scott, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station NIMAC Program Manager

Research Partners

  • Ron McRoberts, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station Forest Inventory and Analysis Mathematical Statistician
  • Lara Peterson, Forest Service International Programs
  • Asdrubal Calderon, Honduran Forestry Science School

Last Modified: 12/07/2009