Forest Health Monitoring

Conifer trees surround a forest lake

The USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Monitoring (FHM) is a national program designed to determine the status, changes, and trends in indicators of forest condition on an annual basis.

The FHM program in Region 5 uses data from ground plots and surveys, aerial surveys, satellite imagery and other biotic and abiotic data sources and develops analytical approaches to address forest health issues that affect the sustainability of forest ecosystems.

Visit the National Forest Health Monitoring web site.


Region 5 Forest Health Monitoring Programs:

Aerial Detection Monitoring

Information collected during aerial surveys and associated on-the-ground field work is a key component in short and long term monitoring, reporting and protection of all forest lands. Annual surveys are part of a national program to detect, map and monitor current year mortality and other forest damage. Special surveys occur when mortality outbreaks are beyond the scope of the annual program. Since 2001 special surveys have been conducted for Sudden Oak Death (SOD), Pinyon Pine mortality and mortality in southern California. More information about monitoring

Evaluation Monitoring

The Evaluation Monitoring (EM) component of the Forest Health Monitoring program is designed to determine the extent, severity, and causes of undesirable changes in forest health identified through detection monitoring (DM), including ground plots and surveys, aerial surveys, and other data sources. The need for EM projects arises when significant forest health changes or trends are observed. More information about Evaluation Monitoring

Insect and Disease Risk Modeling

The risk mapping effort was initiated in 1995 with the formation of a group of specialists including pathologists, entomologists and GIS analysts, as well as representatives from state and other federal agencies. Definitions, methods and techniques have evolved over the past 10 years. Currently, an area is defined to be at risk if 25% or more of standing live volume greater than 1” DBH will die over the next 15 years, including background mortality. More information about modeling

Land Cover Monitoring

Vegetation change is mapped on a five year rotating schedule across the state of California (see figure 1). Pairs of Landsat TM images collected 5 years apart are processed, classified, and labeled into 8 change classes. Careful rectification, co-registration and normalization of imagery is required and ancillary data, such as fire history, resource aerial photography, DOQQs, and digital aerial photographs are assembled and used for labeling and modeling. More information about land cover monitoring

Pacific Imagery Consortium Vegetation Mapping and Monitoring and Cover Monitoring

Vegetation maps and change detection for the U.S. Affiliated Islands. More information about detection

Insect and Disease GIS Atlas

The insect and disease atlas contains GIS coverages of recorded incidences of pest activity statewide.More information about this atlas

Sudden Oak Death Monitoring

Since 2001 USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring program staff and California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo have conducted aerial surveys to map hardwood mortality related to SOD, and targeted ground-based surveys sampling to determine presence of P. ramorum. More information about mapping hardwood mortality