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

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Sustaining Forests

Assessment of Forest Site Quality in Ohio

Research Issue

[image:] Map of Ohio showing county boundaries. A statewide IMI indicates dry sites (brown) and sites with increasing moisture (yellow to green).Site quality indices have the potential to provide valuable ecological and agricultural information across the landscape. When Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data is used in conjunction with landscape layers, including an Integrated Moisture Index (IMI), it can provide indications of potential production, carbon sequestration potential, and tradeoffs for various management options.

Our Research

An Integrated Moisture Index (IMI) which models long-term soil water conditions has been link to site productivity and composition. We have created an IMI model for the state of Ohio, and provide these layers through Google Earth.

We have envisioned the utility of this model for many applications and offer background information and instructions on creating an IMI for other suitable locations. For Ohioans, we provide IMI, Hillshade, Flow Accumulation, and Available Water Holding Capacity viewable through Google Earth. We are currently working on a web site that will offer the data and information described above. Please check back soon.

Research Results

Iverson, L. R. and A. Prasad. 2003. A GIS-derived integrated moisture index. Pages 29-42 in E. K. Sutherland and T. Hutchinson, eds. Characteristics of mixed-oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Newtown Square, PA.

Iverson, L. R., M. E. Dale, C. T. Scott, and A. Prasad. 1997. A GIS-derived integrated moisture index to predict forest composition and productivity in Ohio forests. Landscape Ecology 12:331-348.

Iverson, L. R., C. T. Scott, M. Dale, and A. M. G. Prasad. 1996. Development of an integrated moisture index for predicting species composition. Pages 101-116 in M. Kohl and G. Z. Gertner, eds. Caring for the forest: research in a changing world. Statistics, mathematics, and computers. Proceedings of the meeting of IUFRO S.4.11-00 held at IUFRO XX World Congress, 6-12 August 1995, Tampere, Finland. Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Matthew Peters, USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station GIS Analyst
  • Louis Iverson, USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station Landscape Ecologist
  • Anantha Prasad, USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station Ecologist

Research Partners

  • Elizabeth LaPoint, USDA Forest Service – Northern Research Station Forester/GIS Specialist
  • Will McWilliams, USDA Forest Service –Northern Research Station Research Forester

Last Modified: 01/20/2010