Forest Inventory and Analysis – Interior Alaska

Vegetation ExampleForest Inventory and Analysis is a consistent, national monitoring program covering all forest ownerships.  We work with land managers as partners to provide a wealth of data that crosses management boundaries, just as disturbance, climatic events, and forest changes span boundaries.  Together we answer questions to help sustain our forests and the communities that depend on them:

  1. What are the effects of climatic variation, fire, insects, and disease on the boreal forests of Alaska?
  2. Are Alaska’s forests carbon sinks or sources?
  3. How have rates of tree growth and mortality changed over time?
  4. How much biomass do Alaska’s forests contain?
  5. How much carbon and nitrogen are stored in Alaska’s soils and ground cover mats?
  6. What is the distribution and extent of forage lichens across Alaska?
  7. How are Alaska tree species distribution and composition changing?
  8. What are the dynamics of fire effects and recovery in Alaska?
  9. How resilient are Alaska’s boreal forests?
  10. How is the extent of surface water in boreal forests of Alaska changing over time?
  11. What is the rate and extent of forest cover change (tree growth, height, diameter) and expansion of woody vegetation at tree line?
  12. What is the nature and severity of disturbances, including mortality and defoliation owing to increased insect activity in Alaska’s forests?

Interior Alaska Inventory
In 2017 the second full season of the Interior Alaska Forest Inventory & Analysis project was launched by the PNW Research Station’s Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Anchorage, Alaska, in collaboration with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, and NASA. This new project will inventory the remaining 15 percent of U.S. forested land not yet covered in the FIA sample. The Interior Alaska effort will install about 4,500 new FIA plots on the ground over 12-15 years and supplement this data utilizing cutting edge remote sensing techniques (NASA’s G-LiHT system) before moving into the re-measurement phase.

  • In 2017 we began our second full year of the forest inventory in the Tanana unit. 
  • An interagency crew consisting of 14 State of Alaska Division of Forestry and 3 Forest Service employees are installing an expected 225 field plots while based out of the Fairbanks and Delta Junction areas. 
  • Expect to complete Tanana unit plots during the 2018 field season before moving into the Susitna-Copper unit in 2019.
  • The complete Interior inventory of approximately 4,500 plots, divided into six units, is expected to take 12-15 years before entering re-measurement phase.

Contact us:
Joe Donnegan – Acting RMA Program Manager -
Kate Legner – Interior Alaska Coordinator -
John Chase – Project Coordinator -

More Information

Inventory Details

    Inventory methods consist of standard Phase 2 FIA protocols with enhanced vegetation, lichen and moss ground cover, soils and tree ring measurements specific to the boreal forests of Interior Alaska. PNW RMA scientists continue to cooperate with NASA and the next generation of Goddard’s LiDAR, Hyperspectral and Thermal Imager (G-LiHT). The G-LiHT sensor suite enables integration with field data acquisition for model assisted landscape classification and vegetation attribute estimation like forest biomass and carbon sequestration.

    The specific instructions for FIA Data Collection can be found in the FIA Data Collection Field Manuals



    Work on this project would not be possible without the valuable contributions of our partners and collaborators

    Primary Research Collaborators
    NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center
    Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry

    Full list of collaborators and partners
    Alaska Center for Conservation Science, UAB -
    Alaska DNR Division of Forestry - Inventory planning, staffing, logistics and operations (JVA executed).
    Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment - Multiple projects -
    Boreal Ecology Cooperative Research Unit, UAF -
    LandFire Alaska Fire Science Group - Fuel Model Guide to Alaska Vegetation -
    NatureServe - National Vegetation Classification revision and review -
    NASA - Goddard Lidar Hyperspectral and Thermal Imager (G-LiHT) -
    Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative - Boreal forest monitoring -
    Tanana Chiefs Conference -
    University of Alaska Anchorage - Tree core processing
    University of Alaska Fairbanks - Soil core processing
    USDI Bureau of Land Management
    USDI National Park Service
    USFS Region 10 NFS
    US Fish and Wildlife Service
    Alaskan Native Corporations
    Local communities