Insect & Disease Surveys

Cessna aircraft used for surveysWith the assistance of our state forestry cooperative partners, we annually survey the forested areas of Arizona and New Mexico for forest health conditions. We conduct our surveys from aircraft to enable us to cover such a large area each year. Aerial surveying enables us to monitor forest health conditions more efficiently and economically than other methods. During the surveys, we look for areas with dying trees (from bark beetles, drought, other factors), various types of defoliation, and abiotic impacts such as from storms and weather patterns. The observer in the aircraft records the survey either by drawing the affected area on a map or using a digital sketchmapping system that incorporates a touch screen and GPS technology (Fact sheet on digital sketch mapping system, PDF, 84 kb).

Aerial view of fading ponderosa pinesThe results of our surveys are distributed in the fall to land managers in the region, summarized, and used for analysis. Summary information is part of our annual Forest Insect and Disease Conditions Report (see our publications page). Forest health aerial surveys are also conducted by Forest Service and State partners throughout other parts of the country.

For information on our overall survey program please visit our national Forest Health Protection aviation site. Our portal has the ability to view survey data, create your own maps, and download data.

The other regions of the Forest Service also maintain webpages:

GIS Data

GIS (Geographic Information System) data containing the results of our aerial surveys are also available for download from R3 GIS library.

Please Note:

U.S. Forest Service, Forest Health Protection (FHP) along with the Arizona State and New Mexico State Forestry Divisions strive to maintain an accurate Aerial Detection Survey (ADS) Dataset, but due to the conditions under which the data are collected, FHP and its partners shall not be held responsible for missing or inaccurate data. ADS are not intended to replace more specific information. An accuracy assessment has not been done for this dataset; however, ground checks are completed in accordance with local and national guidelines. Maps and data may be updated without notice. Please cite “USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Protection, Arizona State Forestry Division, and New Mexico State Forestry Division” as the source of this data in maps and publications.

Download the ADS data from the Regional GIS data library

[Photograph]: Aerial view of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Key Contacts

  • John Anhold
    AZ Zone Leader
    (928) 556-2073
  • Tom Coleman
    NM Zone Leader
    (505) 842-3286