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Pacific Northwest Forest Inventory and Analysis
What is FIA?
Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) is the Nation's forest census. The Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW) is one of five Research Stations with an FIA program. It is our job to determine the extent and condition of forest resources and analyze how these resources change over time. The inventories are conducted across all ownerships in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and the US Pacific Territories regardless of management policies. PNW-FIA has been in operation under various program names (Forest Survey; Inventory and Economics; Inventory, monitoring and Evaluation; and Pacific Resources Inventory, and Evaluation) for some 70 years. The program is implemented in cooperation with a variety of partners including state forestry agencies and private landowners who grant access to their lands for data collection purposes.
FIA consists of a nationally consistent core program, which can be enhanced at the regional, state, or local level by collecting additional data to address special interests. The national core consists of three phases:
Phase 1 uses remote sensing imagery or aerial photography
to classify land into forest or non-forest and to identify landscape patterns
such as fragmentation
and urbanization. Historically, this phase was accomplished exclusively with
aerial photographs. Methods are shifting to a system based on satellite
Phase 3 is designed to assess forest health by sampling a subset of Phase 2 plots. Plots are visited only during the growing. Phase 3 measurements relate to forest ecosystem function, condition, and health. They include:
FIA is organizationally located within the Research and Development Deputy Area of the USDA Forest Service. FIA has three levels of internal management: an executive level involving senior executives from the Forest Service and State Forestry Agencies, who provide broad policy guidance; a management level consisting of field program managers from the Forest Service and States responsible for implementing the program on a day-to-day basis; and a technical level consisting of groups of technical specialists drawn from the Forest Service and States, who develop, document, and review program procedures. Across the country, program work is coordinated out of five regional field offices. Each region maintains their own internal set of regional customers and partners who collaborate in program implementation.
Every 5 years the National Forest System and Forest Service Research combine
their data for the Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment of the Nation's
resources. The RPA data is retrievable at the regional, state and county levels
The People of PNW-FIA
PNW-FIA is based in Portland, OR with a satellite office in Anchorage, AK. Scientists, foresters, ecologists computer professionals, and technicians from many backgrounds provide the expertise needed to implement the PNW-FIA program.
FIA Teams and team leaders in Portland (Alaska, California,
Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and US Pacific Islands)
Data Flow and Uses
Phase 1 determines which plots are forested and which are non-forest. Field crews visit the forested plots (Phases 2, 3) on the ground. After the collected field data are edited for correctness and consistency (by the two data collection teams), they are compiled using both national and regional computer programs that generate computed values of a number of desired measurements such as biomass and volume (by the information management team). The compiled data are then added to the national FIA database (by the information management team). The data can then be summarized, analyzed and published (by the inventory reporting team and the 2 research teams).
Our data is available to any interested individual or organization. Although we typically summarize the data at the state or multi-county level, other political and biological entities such as national forests and ecoregions, whose boundaries are rarely congruent with county or state boundaries, can also be accommodated. For more information about accessing the data see our data page.
FIA data answers such questions as:
Such information has many important uses including:
US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Forest Inventory and Analysis