Forest Inventory and Analysis for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (FIA) collects, analyzes, reports, and distributes data about the Nation’s forests: how much forest exists, who owns it, what condition it's in, where it’s located, and how it's changed. TheFIA is managed by the Research and Development organization within the USDA Forest Service in cooperation with State and Private Forestry and National Forest Systems.

Tagging trees and data collection on Mona Island.

Image CaptionTree sampling on Mona Island, Puerto Rico. (Photo Credit: Ivan Vicens)

The Institute and the FIA program

The IITF co-conducts the FIA program for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands together with the Southern Research Station [External Site: Opens in New Window]. Related research seeks to:

  1. Reduce uncertainties in tropical forest carbon fluxes that are related to tree demography and functional traits, past land use, soil parent material, C-N-P stoichiometry, and climate.

  2. Characterize how tree functional traits relate to forest biodiversity and nutrient cycles.

  3. Learn how past spatial patterns of tropical deforestation and regrowth affect biodiversity.

  4. Learn how species introductions and nutrient enrichment affect tree species diversity and forest ecosystem function.

  5. Map forest ecosystem attributes with remote sensing, including: height, age, and diversity of native and introduced species, past land use, successional stage, phenology, productivity and species composition.

Tire ring for ground and soil sampling on Mona Island.

Image CaptionGround sampling on Mona Island, Puerto Rico. (Photo Credit: Tom Brandeis)

Related Publications

Zhu, X., Helmer, E.H., Gao, F., Liu, D., Chen, J., and Lefsky, M.A. 2016. A Flexible Spatiotemporal Method for Fusing Satellite Images with Different Resolutions. Remote Sensing of Environment, 172. 165-177.

Erickson, H. E., Helmer, E. H., Brandeis, T. J., & Lugo, A. E. (2014). Controls on fallen leaf chemistry and forest floor element masses in native and novel forests across a tropical island. Ecosphere 5 (4): 48.

Helmer, E. H., Ruzycki, T. S., Benner, J., Voggesser, S. M., Scobie, B. P., Park, C, Fanning, D.W., & Ramnarine, S. (2012). Detailed maps of tropical forest types are within reach: Forest tree communities for Trinidad and Tobago mapped with multi-season Landsat and multi-season fine-resolution imagery. [External Site: Opens in New Window] Forest Ecology and Management, 279, 147-166.

Brandeis, T. J., Helmer, E. H., Marcano-Vega, H., & Lugo, A. E. (2009). Climate shapes the novel plant communities that form after deforestation in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. [External Site: Opens in New Window] Forest Ecology and Management, 258, 1704-718.

Helmer, E. H., Brandeis, T. J., Lugo, A. E., & Kennaway, T. (2008). Factors influencing spatial pattern in tropical forest clearance and stand age: Implications for carbon storage and species diversity. [External Site: Opens in New Window] J. Geophys. Res, 113, G02S04.

Kennaway, T. A., Helmer, E. H., Lefsky, M. A., Brandeis, T. A., & Sherrill, K. R. (2008). Mapping land cover and estimating forest structure using satellite imagery and coarse resolution lidar in the Virgin Islands. [External Site: Opens in New Window] Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 2(023551), 023551.


For more information please email Eileen H. Helmer

Page last modified: 01/03/2022