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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Inventory, Assessment, and Monitoring


Basic forest resource data are collected annually in every state in the Northern Region. These data include information on the forest extent, cover, growth, mortality, removals, and overall health. Forest ownership surveys are conducted for information on landowner plans, desires, values, and intentions. Wood processing studies gather information on commercial production of timber products. Utilization studies provide data on how much wood is actually removed during harvest.

Complete datasets are available to the public for download.   Users can also create their own customized summary tables using our Web tools.

Selected Research Studies

Forester collecting data in the fieldData Acquisition
Forest resource data are collected on permanent field plots randomly distributed on a systematic grid.  The data collected include basic forest measurements, such as: forest type, tree species, diameter at breast height, and tree height.  On a smaller sample, more intensive measurements are taken for forest health assessment, these include: tree crown condition, invasive species, down woody material, ambient ozone injury, soil quality, lichen communities, and vegetation structure and diversity.


Bulldozer clearing forest landData, Tools, and Services
Forest inventory data are available to the public on-line.  The plot-level data and code reference files are in comma-delimited format.  Users can download these data by individual states, or all the data for the entire US in one file. 
On-line tools are also available to summarize the data.  Currently, the Web tool box includes programs to create standard inventory statistics, carbon estimates, ownership survey results, and wood processing studies.
Link to download data and tools.


[photo:] Green Ridge State Forest (MD) welcome sign Monitoring Studies Conducted with State Clients
State forestry agencies often have non-traditional monitoring needs that FIA does not address. For example, NIMAC clients might be interested in having precise estimates of forest attributes on the forestland that they manage, like State forests, or having detailed information on trees outside of forests (FIA only collects tree information on forested plots).


[photo:] View of Eurasia, including Russian MODIS Satellite Development and Coordination of Monitoring Programs in Foreign Countries
Foreign countries have inventory and monitoring needs similar to those in the United States. Due to lack of expertise, political changes that lead to a lack of continuity in forestry staff, or lack of funding, many countries do not have a national forest inventory. Sound, scientifically defensible monitoring programs that provide results that are compatible with those of other countries are needed for both national and global forest resource assessments.


[photo:] Need text descriptionTimber Products Output
Timber Product Output surveys are used to obtain estimates of the volume of roundwood removed and utilized, the amount left on the ground as logging residues, what finished products are generated from the roundwood, and the ultimate byproducts or disposal of mill residues.


[photo:] Barn with clear clue sky in backgroundCarbon
Develop comprehensive historic, current, and projected estimates, including estimates of uncertainty, of national-level forest and forest-related carbon stocks and stock changes under a variety of management, disturbance, land use change, and environmental scenarios


Experimental forest sceneExperimental Forests
The Northern Research Station houses a network of Experimental Forests that span the many forest biomes found across the region.  This network promotes sites and ecosystem studies related to national and international research on long-term ecological conditions.


[image:] Changes in climate, atmospheric components, land use and disturbance regimes affect forest carbon sequestration and biofuel product. It is important to understand these processes and attribute the effects to different causesImpacts of Disturbances and Climate on Carbon Sequestration and Biofuels
Currently, U.S. forests and forest products offset about 20% of the nation’s fossil fuel emissions. However, recent findings cast doubt on the sustainability of this offset. First, the strength of the U.S. forest carbon offset may be weakening due to forest ageing, climate variability, and increasing natural disturbances. Second, climate change is expected to further increase frequencies of insect outbreaks and wildfire, and alter species composition in forest ecosystems, consequently influencing forest carbon pools in a significant way.  These current and projected forest carbon cycle dynamics need to be considered in strategic forest planning and management decisions in coming decades if the nation’s forests are to provide stable or even increasing ecosystem services.


Last Modified: 06/22/2018