FIA User Group meeting

The USFS Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (www.fia.fs.fed.us) is the most important and comprehensive source of data on the extent and condition of forests in the United States. Applications of FIA data include sustainability assessments, wood supply studies, ecological research, and many others.

The Society of American Foresters convened a meeting of the National FIA User Group on March 7-8, 2012 in Baltimore. The meeting included technical presentations by FIA staff and external users of FIA data. Follow-up items suggested by the group included:

  • Don’t eliminate plots or change the basic design in response to budget cuts. The group felt that an increase in the cycle length would do the least damage to the program. This is consistent with opinions from previous user group meetings.
  • Timber Product Output Program - Methods to improve the program and enhance its value for economic development and modeling should be sought. One possibility would be to develop an annual TPO system that is compatible nationally and with FIA’s annual forest inventory.
  • There should be a renewed effort to investigate alternatives to the simple moving average for improved trend detection and estimation.
  • FIA should investigate methods that could be used to provide short-term projections (5 to 10 years). For example, plots could be projected with hotdeck matching algorithms.
  • There is currently a bias that results from methods used by FIA to estimate growth and removals by diameter class. A white paper should be developed to describe the problem and the solution. The solution should be implemented in FIA online tools.

Information about the meeting is posted at www.ncasi2.org/downloads/BWG/.

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