FIA National User Group Meeting

The Forest Inventory and Analysis program of the USDA Forest Service is the most important source of data and information about forest conditions and trends in the United States. FIA data are used for diverse purposes, including wood supply analysis, conservation planning, carbon cycle modeling, and many others.

The 2014 National FIA User Group Meeting will be in Salt Lake City at the Hilton City Center on March 19-20. Register for the meeting and see the agenda at http://ncasi2.org/downloads/BWG/. Participants will learn about current issues affecting the FIA Program, discuss applications of FIA data, and provide input to FIA program leaders on the needs and priorities of FIA data users.

The meeting will begin with a field trip to the Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) to learn about projects such as Image Based Change Estimation (ICE). The ICE methodology is useful for detecting forest resource change with high resolution imagery. As such, ICE is relevant to FIA and forest management. Learn more about RSAC at http://www.fs.fed.us/eng/rsac/. For more on ICE, go to http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/gtr/gtr-nrs-p-105papers/08webb-p-105.pdf.

The meeting will include presentations on FIA-related topics and discussion of recent Farm Bill provisions that pertain to FIA. The Farm Bill calls for FIA to revise its strategic plan and describe in detail the organization, procedures, and funding needed to achieve each of the following:

  • Complete the transition to a fully annualized forest inventory program and include inventory and analysis of interior Alaska.
  • Implement an annualized inventory of trees in urban settings, including the status and trends of trees and forests, and assessments of their ecosystem services, values, health, and risk to pests and diseases.
  • Report information on renewable biomass supplies and carbon stocks at the local, state, regional, and national levels, including by ownership type.
  • Engage state foresters and other users of FIA information in reevaluating the list of core data variables collected on FIA plots with an emphasis on demonstrated need.
  • Improve the timeliness of the Timber Product Output program and accessibility of the annualized information on that database.
  • Foster greater cooperation among the FIA program, research station leaders, and state foresters and other users of FIA information.
  • Improve availability of and access to non-federal resources to improve information analysis and information management.
  • Collaborate with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and United States Geological Survey to integrate remote sensing, spatial analysis techniques, and other new technologies in the FIA program.
  • Understand and report on changes in land cover and use.
  • Expand existing programs to promote sustainable forest stewardship through increased understanding, in partnership with other federal agencies, of the over 10 million family forest owners, their demographics, and the barriers to forest stewardship.
  • Implement procedures to improve the statistical precision of FIA estimates at the sub-state level.  

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