USDA Forest Service Resource Information Group

Inventory and Monitoring

The purpose and intent of monitoring are diagnostic and evaluative. Inventory and monitoring activities should facilitate understanding of resource conditions and trends based upon deliberately selected indicators and scientifically valid methods. Conditions and trends of interest to the Forest Service are ecological, social, or economic. Effective monitoring produces knowledge that contributes to meaningful, timely, and wise action. RIG works with field personnel to develop policy, guidance, and direction for:

Many laws and Executive Orders require the Forest Service to conduct monitoring, but the National Forest Management Act provides the primary Congressional direction (16 USC 1604). This Act requires the Forest Service to conduct monitoring that will allow determinations for at least the following three key areas:

  1. The effects of various resource management activities within the plan area on the productivity of the land;
  2. The degree to which on-the-ground management is maintaining or making progress toward the desired conditions and objectives for the plan; and,
  3. Whether adjustment to the monitoring program appropriately account for unanticipated changes in conditions.

Monitoring activities are tools for learning and the foundation of adaptive management. Proper use of these tools allows information, gathered through inventory or monitoring activities, to serve as the basis for evaluating whether resource conditions are changing or not and whether those changes are desired.

Forest Service Resource Information Protocols

Several teams have been approved by the agency Information Resource Board to develop national biophysical, social and economic protocols. The Resource Information Group is responsible for managing a portfolio of investments in resource information protocols. These protocol projects are the primary, but not exclusive, source of national protocols for collection and analysis of biophysical, social, and economic data in support of national forest management.


Plot-GEM is tool that has been useful to design of inventory and monitoring sampling and survey work.

National Resource Information Resources

National Resource Information Programs and Projects

Forest Service Programs

Selected Forest Service Inventory and Monitoring Projects

RIG is also responsible for Monitoring the Effectiveness and Validating Response to the Road Related Mitigation Practices Implemented on the Pikes Peak Highway, a project assigned as part of the Settlement Agreement between the Sierra Club and the United States Department of Agriculture (Forest Service in Sierra Club v. Venneman, 2001).

Data Stewardship Training

The Data Stewardship Training was developed and funded by the Standard Data Management project. This training is for field level data stewards who are responsible for the content of the data using suitable data collection methods determined by business requirements and ensuring compliance with the data standard.

Selected Programs of Other Federal Agencies

Staff Contact

Rick Ullrich
Assistant Director
U.S. Forest Service Resource Information Group (RIG)
202-205-1120 or

USDA Forest Service
Ecosystem Management Coordination (EMC)
1400 Independence Ave.
Mailstop: 1104
Washington, DC 20250-1104

(202) 205-0895 logo

Last modified: Monday, 03-May-2021 17:28:45 CDT
Contact Webmaster: Kris Bancroft