Inventory, Monitoring and Assessment
Effective stewardship of U.S. forests and rangelands relies on solid data and information about the status of resources. Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment Research (IMAR) undertaken by the Forest Service provides these foundational data and tools. IMAR is comprised of a set of programs that collect, analyze, and share data to track the health, biomass, extent, and ownership of U.S. forests and rangelands. IMAR also integrates and synthesizes information to increase understanding about the effects of landscape and climate change on important resources such as carbon, wildlife, forest products, biodiversity, urban forests, water, outdoor recreation, wilderness, and ecosystem services.
The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program maintains the largest continuous body of forest inventory data in the world. These data are the basis for land management policy and decision-making, extensive research on forest health and conditions, and national assessments that evaluate current and future conditions of U.S. forests and grasslands including sustainability reporting, EPA and USDA greenhouse gas reporting, the congressionally-mandated Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment reports, as well as international reporting (e.g., Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Forest Resource Assessment).
IMAR continuously looks for efficiencies, improvements, and partnerships that can be gained by using new information management technologies and remote sensing. Research to increase timeliness, spatial resolution, and data delivery will enhance resource management decisions and reduce the risk of unsustainable forest activities. Flexibilities within the research program allow for the accommodation of fluctuating budgets, changing user needs, and emerging issues.