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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


Forest inventories are expensive to conduct and the results need to be available as soon as possible following data acquisition.  As such, efforts are ongoing to make the inventory faster, better, and cheaper by research to gain efficiencies in sample design and processing.

Research Studies

[photo:] some of the flora of the  Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Nevada)National Forest System Monitoring Coordination and Techniques Development
The National Forest System (NFS) of the US Forest Service manages more than 192 million acres of land. In the past, forest monitoring was conducted with less emphasis on standardized procedures and measuring accountability for meeting national management goals. In recent years, however, efforts have been made to measure the effects of management policies in a standardized way. As the Forest Service begins to implement these policies, new techniques and tools are needed to meet agency requirements.


[image:] View of a version of a data recorder software package developed for NIMAC projectsDevelopment of Software Tools for the Planning, Execution and Analysis of Inventory and Monitoring Studies
NIMAC clients often contact us with general goals and desired outcomes of a monitoring study. Without specific goals, however, it is difficult to determine what variables to measure, how to design the inventory, what products will be produced, and how results will be used. Above all, planning and budget formation cannot proceed without these critical first steps. Once the project goals are established, the planning phase can begin. However, without a consistent, documented procedure to design the study and estimate costs given a desired level of precision of results, it is difficult to plan efficiently. Finally, once results are collected, tools are needed to store, process, and report estimates and their precision derived from the monitoring study.


[photo:] Poplar biomass that is ready to be processed into plywood.Predicting and Mapping Biomass of Poplar Energy Crops in the North Central United States
Populus species and hybrids (i.e., poplars) have demonstrated high yield potential in the North Central United States as short-rotation woody crops (SRWCs). However, the ability to predict biomass yields for sites not currently in SRWCs is limited. As a result, stakeholders are also limited in their ability to evaluate different areas within the region as potential supply sheds for wood-based bioenergy facilities. A reliable method for predicting biomass productivity across the region is needed; preferably, such a method will also lend itself to generating yield maps that stakeholders can readily use to inform their decision-making processes.

[image:] Poplar energy crops near the end of a rotation.An Approach for Siting Poplar Energy Production Systems to Increase Productivity and Associated Ecosystem Services
Highly productive poplars grown primarily on marginal agricultural sites are an important component of our future Midwest energy portfolio. Additionally, poplars can be strategically placed in the landscape to conserve soil and water, recycle nutrients, and sequester carbon. These purpose-grown trees are vital to reducing our dependence on non-renewable and foreign sources of energy used for heat and power. Establishing poplar genotypes that are adapted to local environmental conditions substantially increases establishment success and productivity. But, it is difficult to predict field trial success in landscapes where the crop has not been previously deployed.

Last Modified: 03/23/2012