US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Paul L Patterson

Paul L. Patterson

240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins
United States

Phone: 970-498-2618
Fax: 970-498-1212
Contact Paul L. Patterson

Current Research

My primary responsibility is to conduct consultations with individuals from Interior West -Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program. The consultations can involve: 1) assisting the clients in stating the problem in a precise form; 2) determining the appropriate techniques to solve the problem; 3) explaining the solution and the techniques involved in terms the clients can understand; 4) if the solution is not published, then develop statistical techniques, derive equations or write computer programs as needed; 5) assisting the clients in executing the solution and if necessary assist in moving experimental solutions into production mode. When requested I also consult with the national FIA program and with outside groups.

Two examples are:
Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) is a NASA mission to measure how deforestation has contributed to atmospheric CO₂ concentrations. A full-waveform LIDAR was attached to the International Space Station to provide the first global, high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure. I am part of the statistical sub-team of the Science Team. I was the lead author of a paper (see citation) investigating the statistical properties of a proposed estimator and its variance estimator for the mean aboveground biomass density within a 1-KM grid cell. The estimator are easily extended to any geographic region.

I proposed a statistical framework for estimators for area estimates of characteristics measured using high resolution photos, specifically for the Nevada Photo-based Inventory, see citation.

Patterson, Paul L.; Healey, Sean P.; Stahl, Goran; Saarela, Svetlana; Holm, Soren; Andersen, Hans-Erik; Dubayah, Ralph O.; Duncanson, Laura; Hancock, Steven; Armston, John; Kellner, James R.; Cohen, Warren B.; Yang, Zhiqiang. 2019. Statistical properties of hybrid estimators proposed for GEDI - NASA’s global ecosystem dynamics investigation. Environmental Research Letters. 14: 065007. Patterson, Paul L. 2012. Photo-based estimators for the Nevada photo-based inventory. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-92. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 14 p.

Research Interests

I am interested in finite and infinite sampling strategies for forest and rangeland inventories; with an emphasis on the statistical properties of the estimators. I am also interested statistical properties of models used in natural resource monitoring and change detection.

Past Research

The major purpose of the Forest Inventory and Analysis program in to conduct and continuously update a scientifically sound inventory and analysis of the nation�s forests and rangelands, providing high quality statistical and analytical support is essential to this endeavor.

Why This Research is Important

Quality assessment of Forest Inventory and Analysis data; Development of estimators for photo-based inventories; Calculation of upper confidence bounds on proportion of area containing not-sampled vegetation types; Statistical properties of optimized endogenous post-stratification estimators for the proportion of forest; Nonresponse in the Forest Inventory and Analysis program; Post-stratification estimation: with-in strata and total sample size recommendations


  • University of Oregon, B.S. Mathematics 1981
  • University of Oregon, M.S. Mathematics 1982
  • University of Oregon, Ph.D. Mathematics 1987
  • Colorado State University, Ph.D. Statistics 2006

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Assisting Countries in the Development of Statistically Valid Estimates of Forest Attributes

Carbon sequestration is an important element in the discussion towards limiting the impacts of climate change. There are proposals to pay tropic ...


First Global Assessment of Drylands

Drylands, characterized by scarcity of water, globally support about two billion people. While most of these people live in developing nations, ...


ModelMap Predicts Forest Characteristics Over Any Geographic Extent

Forest Service scientists created a tool, ModelMap, that can combine the Forest Inventory and Analysis plot data with remote sensing satellite i ...


Last updated on : 09/23/2020