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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
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Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment

National Forest System Monitoring Coordination and Techniques Development

[photo:] some of the flora of the  Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Nevada)Research Issue

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.

Our Research

National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center (NIMAC) staff is on several teams that advise NFS managers on how to implement scientifically defensible forest-level monitoring plans. For example, in the Allegheny National Forest, NIMAC and NFS monitoring personnel are working on developing comprehensive reports of various forest health metrics. On the Mark Twain National Forest, NIMAC helped plan a pilot study of a comprehensive monitoring protocol that addresses local monitoring needs and meets national standards.  As a result, the Mark Twain now funds FIA to intensify its sample on the Forest.  A design tool was developed as part of the pilot and applied to several forests in Forest Service Regions 8 and 9.  NIMAC has also helped the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area (Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest) in Nevada design an eightfold intensification that focuses on plant and animal species of concern.  NIMAC has guided them through a decision process that has led to the establishment of monitoring priorities and an assessment of existing data, data gaps, and need for intensification.

[photo:] view from Mina Sauk Falls, Mark Twain National Forest.Expected Outcomes

As the NFS begins to adopt standardized, science-based monitoring procedures, its managers will be able to apply adaptive management to the forest resource on NFS lands. Furthermore, adopting the decision process and the monitoring framework that NIMAC has helped develop will help them use the existing data and collect more data in a more efficient and effective way.

Morin, R.S., Westfall, J., White, R. and others. In preparation. Forest Health Conditions on the Allegheny National Forest.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Charles T. Scott, US Forest Service, Northern Research Station NIMAC Program Manager
  • Randall S. Morin, US Forest Servic Research, Northern Research Station Research Forester
  • James Westfall, US Forest Service Research, Northern Research Station Research Forester

Research Partners

  • David Meriwether, Forest Service Region 8
  • David Shadis, Forest Service Region 9
  • Robert White, Allegheny National Forest
  • Michael Schanta, Mark Twain National Forest

Last Modified: 10/14/2008