USDA Forest Service

RMRS Black and White Graphic ElementInterior West Forest Inventory & Analysis


Forest Inventory & Analysis
507 25th Street
Ogden, UT 84401-2450

(801) 625-5407

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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Techniques Research - Overview of Research Areas and Objectives

The Techniques Team is primarily responsible for carrying out the Inventory and Monitoring Research and Development function of the FIA program in the interior West. The team develops innovative methods for sampling and integrating inventory data with remotely sensed information to 1) improve the quality and efficiency of inventory analysis and reporting products, 2) to develop mapping tools and spatial depictions of diverse vegetation conditions, 3) to quantify disturbance effects on various resources, 4) and to support land management planning and monitoring needs by developing tools to broaden the scope of strategic vegetation inventory applications.

Land managers, private industry, and the public in the Interior West are placing higher demands on forest inventory information. They need more timely estimates of forest population totals that are unbiased and precise and are calling for maps depicting the spatial distribution of forest attributes, as well as means to integrate inventory information with their numerous GIS layers. Maps of key forest inventory variables of known quality over large geographic areas would greatly enhance forest land managers ability to identify suitable wildlife habitat, assess resource loss to catastrophic events, evaluate management prescription alternatives, and many other analyses. In addition, there is a wealth of information hidden in the vast quantities of inventory and ancillary digital data sources, such as large scale aerial photography. Improved forest resource estimates and automated and visual analysis tools enhances FIA analysts’ ability to report on resource dynamics and gives customers the ability to explore relationships affecting the lands they manage.
In 2009, the Forest Service recently introduced a Strategic Framework for Responding to Climate Change to help prioritize and make decisions on forest and grassland sustainability. In addition, the 2006 Forest Inventory and Analysis Strategic Plan highlighted a direction to increase remote sensing R&D, and to use remote sensing in conjunction with inventory data to expand the scope of management-relevant information available to the public. These two strategies have been the drivers of several national and international collaborative research projects that have direct involvement with the IW-FIA techniques team, with application to: carbon accounting, greenhouse gas emission reporting, biomass and bioenergy assessments, hydrologic function assessments, fire and fuels planning and management, as well as forest and rangeland health assessments.




USDA Forest Service - RMRS - Forest Inventory & Analysis
Last Modified: Saturday, 15 October 2016 at 18:39:15 CDT

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