The second full season of the Interior Alaska Forest Inventory & Analysis project has been launched by the Pacific Northwest Research Station Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Anchorage, Alaska, in collaboration with the state of Alaska Division of Forestry. This new project will inventory the remaining 15 percent of U.S. forested land that had not been visited by FIA until a pilot inventory of the region began in 2014. The Interior Alaska effort will install about 4,500 new forested FIA plots over 12 years before moving into the re-measurement phase.
The FIA program is responsible for monitoring all forested lands in the United States. The Pacific Northwest unit conducts inventories in the Pacific Coast states, Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands. In 2016, the Interior Alaska FIA project completed 180 plots in the Tanana Valley near Fairbanks, and aims to complete about 250 plots in 2017 while basing aviation operations and an interagency field crew out of Fairbanks and Delta Junction, Alaska. The crew was in training from May 8–26 and began field production plots May 30. Operations will continue through July 7 out of Fairbanks and move to Delta Junction from July 7 to August 11.
Often referred to as “The Nation’s Forest Census,” FIA is a longstanding Forest Service program that has continuously monitored forests since the 1930s. FIA is responsible for providing highly reliable and accurate information on forest resources throughout the United States, enabling people to evaluate whether current management practices are sustainable and will allow the next generation to enjoy America’s forests as we do today.
The work conducted by FIA makes it possible to show how forests have changed, as well as how they might change in the future. The program collects, analyzes and shares data that provide broad insights into past trends and the future potential of forest land. FIA focuses on long-term tracking of the status of land use and forest resources by sampling all forest types under all ownerships. The information FIA acquires can be used in many ways to inform management decisions.