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Issues affecting the interpretation of eastern hardwood resource statistics

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Forest Products Journal. 50(4): 21-24.


Forest inventory statistics developed by the USDA Forest Service are used by customers ranging from forest industry to state and local economic development groups. In recent years, these statistics have been used increasingly to justify greater utilization of the eastem hardwood resource or to evaluate the sustainability of expanding demand for hardwood roundwood and sawtimber. This paper examines Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) statistics and demonstrates how they can be misinterpreted. In some cases, the total fiber supply can be underestimated because cull trees are not included in estimates of growing stock and sawtimber. In other cases, the use of annualized growth and removal statistics overestimates sustainable harvest levels. Forest researchers and others using FIA data should determine the meaning of inventory statistics for the state and products under study before assessing the degree of sustainability resulting from increased demand by primary forest products manufacturers.


Luppold, William G.; McWilliams, William H. 2000. Issues affecting the interpretation of eastern hardwood resource statistics. Forest Products Journal. 50(4): 21-24.

Last updated on: January 9, 2018