Publication Details

Measuring Forest Area Loss Over Time Using FIA Plots and Satellite Imagery

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Year Published

2005

Publication

In: McRoberts, Ronald E.; Reams, Gregory A.; Van Deusen, Paul C.; McWilliams, William H.; Cieszewski, Chris J., eds. Proceedings of the fourth annual forest inventory and analysis symposium; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-252. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 91-97

Abstract

How accurately can FIA plots, scattered at 1 per 6,000 acres, identify often rare forest land loss, estimated at less than 1 percent per year in the Northeast? Here we explore this question mathematically, empirically, and by comparing FIA plot estimates of forest change with satellite image based maps of forest loss. The mathematical probability of exactly estimating a 5-percent loss within a 600,000-acre forest, where 5 percent has actually been converted, is 18 percent. A GIS experiment in Connecticut, using 452 FIA plots and a satellite-derived forest cover map, where 5 percent of the total forest area was "lost" by 7.5-acre units, indicates that the sample estimates a 5-percent loss 35 percent of the time with a range of estimated loss of 3 to 8 percent. Satellite image classification can probably estimate the amount of forests lost to urbanization more accurately, especially over small areas, while providing a more useful map of forest loss.

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Citation

Hoppus, Michael L.; Lister, Andrew J. 2005. Measuring Forest Area Loss Over Time Using FIA Plots and Satellite Imagery. In: McRoberts, Ronald E.; Reams, Gregory A.; Van Deusen, Paul C.; McWilliams, William H.; Cieszewski, Chris J., eds. Proceedings of the fourth annual forest inventory and analysis symposium; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-252. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station. 91-97

Last updated on: August 11, 2006