Inventory and monitoring efforts conducted by Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists present a systematic compilation of forest statistics of the state.
New Mexico’s forests cover almost 25 million acres, or about one-third of the State’s land area. These forests encompass a wide variety of environments and forest types that are valued for their scenic beauty, wood and non-timber forest products, wildlife habitat, and ecosystem services. There are 13,104 permanent forest inventory plots in New Mexico. About one-third of these plots contain accessible forest land that will continue to be measured by field crews every 10 years. The estimates for this summary were generated from data in the online FIA database (FIADB) uploaded in September 2016 (FIA database download).
The state of New Mexico knows how valuable FIA data is. As part of their 2010 Forest Action Plan, New Mexico identified a need to fill a decade-long gap in their FIA data. Since 2000, the state’s forests had suffered beetle outbreaks, drought, and wildfires, and the state’s iconic pinyon pine had been decimated. However, managers did not know the extent of the damage because of the lack of FIA data.
In partnership with RMRS, the state of New Mexico has been aggressively filling in FIA data on all lands, not just Forest Service lands. They have included private, tribal, state, and Department of Defense lands in the inventory, and as a result the state was able to develop true cross-boundary priority maps and plans. The multi-jurisdictional approach to FIA data collection has allowed for unprecedented collaboration in the state of New Mexico, and depth of data to develop new Landsat and Landfire models. As a result of the partnership with RMRS to fill data gaps, New Mexico now has a true baseline dataset that managers can use to track rapid change over time. This gives scientists and managers the ability to predict trajectories for what our ecosystems are going to look like in the future.
“[FIA data] is one of the things we all take for granted, but it’s very important…we’re making management decisions every day based on FIA data.”
-Mary Stuever, Chama District Forester, New Mexico State Forestry
See FIA Annual Reports and Forest Resources publications for New Mexico: https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/ogden/publications/new_mexico.shtml
Open the interactive overview of forest inventory information in New Mexico in a new webpage: https://arcg.is/1bW1mG
Visit the USFS National Interior West Forest Inventory & Analysis webpage: https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/ogden/