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Individual Highlight

Rapid forest health assessment to aid forest restoration

Photo of Fremont-Winema National Forest, southern Oregon. Fremont-Winema National Forest, southern Oregon. Snapshot : Tool pre-loads maps trees in poor health to iPads for field verification and use.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Grulke, Nancy E. 
Research Location : Oregon
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1339


Fuels-reduction treatments are an opportune time to remove trees in poor health and significantly increase the proportion of high vigor trees remaining in the stand after treatment. Having a tool that helps identify clusters of trees in poor health could help prioritize restoration activities the following year and reduce the probability of a landscape-level insect outbreak. The Forest Service’s Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC) collaborated with the Fremont-Winema National Forest and The Nature Conservancy to develop such a tool. The researchers developed a rapid assessment tool for identifying and prioritizing removal of western yellow pine in poor health. It is based on canopy and whole-tree attributes that can be assessed within a minute on the ground. It is scalable to the landscape-level by correlating ground-based attributes to spectral signatures developed for two tree health classes (poor, and average or above average) from high-resolution remote sensing currently available to managers of national forests. This approach also can be used to assess the effect of different fuels treatments on stand health through time in stands dominated by western yellow pines (ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, washoe pine).

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Fremont-Winema National Forest
  • Fremont-Winema National Forest