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Newtown Square, PA 19073
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Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment

Monitoring Studies Conducted with State Clients

[photo:] Green Ridge State Forest (MD) welcome sign Research Issue

State forestry agencies often have non-traditional monitoring needs that FIA does not address. For example, National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center (NIMAC) clients might be interested in having precise estimates of forest attributes on the forestland that they manage, like State forests, or having detailed information on trees outside of forests (FIA only collects tree information on forested plots).

Our Research

In order to address these needs, NIMAC works with state agencies in Wisconsin, Indiana, Maryland, and four Great Plains States (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas).

In Wisconsin, NIMAC teamed with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to develop a forest inventory program that is allowing them to ensure the sustainability of their forests, focusing on forest certification and invasive plants.  They now collect, analyze and publish data on an annual basis for each Wisconsin state forest individually and as a group (total of approximately 500,000 acres).  One sample plot is measured for every 160 ac.  The information is being used to track the status of and trends in forest extent, tree growth, mortality, harvest, invasive plants, wildlife habitat, and overall health.

[image:] a superimposition of sampling locations on a state forest boundary in IndianaIn Indiana, NIMAC and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) conducted a needs assessment and designed a sampling methodology to characterize and monitor forests on state-owned land. Results will be produced annually and new plots will be established as new land is acquired by the State.  One sample plot is measured for every 40 ac across the 150,000 ac of State Forest land.  Whole compartments are sampled within a year and all compartments will be measured within 5 years, at which time remeasurement will begin.

In Maryland, NIMAC works with the Maryland Forest Service on a joint research project that involves investigating ways to summarize inventory plot data and attach the information to maps of stands derived from image segmentation. The utility of stand maps is being assessed, and the method might be expanded to all of the MD Forest Service land holdings.

State forestry agencies in the Plains States (ND, SD, NE, and KS) are concerned about the spread of an exotic pest, the Emerald Ash Borer, and its potential effects on the ash resource. In addition, they have little information on the tree resource in nonforest areas that contain trees. In order to address these needs, NIMAC has worked with state partners to plan, design, construct, and implement an inventory of these areas. At least 300 plots will be measured in each state using a 3 phase design involving satellite imagery, aerial photography, and ground sampling.

Expected Outcomes

The common thread that unites these state-level efforts is the desire of resource managers to better understand the forests on state-owned properties, and to be able to monitor changes in order to make better management decisions. By supplementing the information provided by Forest Inventory and Analysis, NIMAC will provide more precise estimates of forest attributes in these areas, and be able to provide additional information that FIA can’t provide. By doing so, we not only provide valuable information to the state, but we add value to the FIA analytical products.

Research Results

Lister, A.J. and C.T. Scott. 2008. Planning, Designing and Conducting an Inventory of the Tree Resource in Nonforest Areas in Four Great Plains States. In preparation.

Lister, A.J., Kahler, H., Clark, A., Zumbrun, F., and J. Perdue. 2008 (In press). Imputing forest inventory data to stands formed by image segmentation in Maryland's Green Ridge State Forest. Proceedings of the 6th Southern Forestry and Natural Resources GIS Conference, March 24-26, 2008, Orlando, Florida.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

Work in WI and IN:
  • James Westfall, US Forest Service Research, Northern Research Station Research Forester
Work in MD:
  • Andrew Lister, US Forest Service, Northern Research Station Research Forester
Work in ND, SD, NE and KS:
  • Charles T. Scott US Forest Service, Northern Research Station NIMAC Program Manager
  • Andrew Lister, US Forest Service, Northern Research Station Research Forester

Research Partners

Last Modified: 10/14/2008