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    Author(s): J. D. Shaw
    Date: 2006
    Source: Forest@ 3(1): 46-53
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (670 B)


    Benefits of a strategic national forest inventory to science and society: the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis program. Forest Inventory and Analysis, previously known as Forest Survey, is one of the oldest research and development programs in the USDA Forest Service. Statistically-based inventory efforts that started in Scandinavian countries in the 1920s raised interest in developing a similar program in the U.S. The U.S. Congress established the research branch of the U.S. Forest Service in 1928, shortly after Dr. Yrjö Ilvessalo, leader of the first Finnish national forest inventory, met with President Calvin Coolidge. Congress charged the Forest Service to find "facts as may be necessary in the determination of ways and means to balance the timber budget of the United States". As a result, Forest Survey maintained a timber focus for much its history. As society's interest in forests changed over time, so did information needs. Conflicts over resource allocation and use could not be resolved without up-to-date knowledge of forest status and trends. In response to society's needs, the Forest Inventory and Analysis program has evolved from Forest Survey to address diverse topics such as forest health, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, air pollution, and invasive plants, while continuing its mandate to monitor the Nation's timber supply. The Forest Inventory and Analysis program collects data on all land ownerships on an annual basis. The data are used to develop reports on a regular basis; reports and raw data are available to the public at no cost. The data are also used by scientists in a growing number of applications. A short history of the Forest Survey is presented with several examples of current research based on Forest Inventory and Analysis data.

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    Shaw, J. D. 2006. Benefits of a strategic national forest inventory to science and society: the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis program. Forest@ 3(1): 46-53


    Forest Inventory and Analysis, FIA, silviculture, disturbance, United States

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