Skip to main content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Remote Sensing & Image Analysis

Remote Sensing and Image Analysis program provides expertise and services in the detection, monitoring, and evaluation of forest health-related concerns.

The remote sensing and image analysis program is focused on two primary areas:

  • Insect and disease tree host distributions and density
  • Remotely sensing disturbance due to insect and disease activity

National Individual Tree Species Atlas

National Individual Tree Species Atlas updates the previous Atlas of United States Trees with better spatial accuracy and finer spatial resolution and includes 264 species which are mapped to a more precise location. Many applications and analyses require accurate tree species information and will benefit from a more current, spatially refined dataset. The Atlas fixes errors in the original maps allowing for better utility in a spatially aware world.

Individual Tree Species Parameter Maps

The Individual Tree Species Parameter Maps (ITSP) were developed to support the National Insect and Disease Risk Map (NIDRM) since insect and disease risk is often driven by the density of a given species. While similar to the Tree Atlas, the ITSP project mapped basal area and stand density index for each individual tree species. The parameter products are based on 30-meter Landsat satellite data, climate, terrain, and soil predictor layers and ground samples from the USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis plot data. Many other applications and analyses requiring tree-species density could benefit from this spatially refined dataset.

Forest Disturbance Monitor

Forest Disturbance Monitor (FDM) is a web based forest disturbance data delivery system that was specifically designed for integration with Insect and Disease Survey (IDS). The forest disturbance products used in the FDM are based on 240-meter MODIS satellite data and are created from 16-day (RSAC) or 24-day (NASA) composites updated every eight days. FDM utilizes two main types of forest disturbance products: the 3-Year Real Time Forest Disturbance (RTFD) data, produced by both RSAC (Nielson 2008) and NASA (Hargrove et. al. 2009), and the 5-Year Trend Disturbance Data (TDD) produced by RSAC (Chastain 2013).

Operational Remote Sensing

Operational Remote Sensing (ORS) is a newly initiated development project designed as an alternative survey method for Insect and Disease Survey (IDS). ORS is intended to fulfill the need for IDS in areas of high safety risk and low/moderate forest health risk using remotely sensed imagery. Like the Forest Disturbance Monitor (FDM) program, ORS will use a phenology-based approach. The development efforts will focus on intensifying the FDM process on smaller survey areas using 30-m Landsat and other moderate resolution data. Using multi-stage sampling, mortality counts from high-resolution imagery and ground samples (FIA annualized inventory) will be used to acquire statistical estimates of damage.

National Individual Tree Species Atlas Cover