2011 FIA National User Group presentations

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  1. Bruce Borders , Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia
    Professor Forest Biometrics

    Title: Improving Individual Tree Biomass Equations for National-Scale Biomass Estimation

    FIA timber inventory data can be used in conjunction with individual tree component biomass equations to develop national-scale forest biomass and carbon budgets for the U.S. Such budgets can have very important policy implications and, as such, the estimates must be as accurate as possible and scientifically defensible. Several efforts have been made to develop such budgets NA013 for example, U.S. EPA (2008) and Heath and others (2009). To develop consistency at the national-scale the work by the U.S. EPA (2008) relied on the national-scale biomass estimation equations developed by Jenkins and others (2003). Heath and others (2009) developed an approach to make use of FIA green volume estimates in conjunction with specific gravity estimates to develop bolewood biomass numbers and then went on to use the component ratio equations of Jenkins and others (2003) to come up with estimates of tops and limbs, and root. The efforts of the EPA, Jenkins, Heath and others are to be applauded, but they suffer from problems that leave them open to criticism. I suggest how to develop individual tree biomass equations that will produce accurate and scientifically defensible estimates at the national-scale for the U.S.

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  2. Willam Burkman , USDA FS SRS FIA
    Program Manager

    Title: FIA Progress in Making Full Use of Phase 3 Data.

    Phase 3 (P3) or NA01Cforest health" indicators are collected during the summer months and include a larger number of variables than on P2 plots. Each indicator group has published a FS GTR describing data collection, estimation, processing, and output format. P3 data are available through FIA DataMart at the following website http://199.128.173.17/fiadb4-downloads/datamart.html but cannot be queried with FIA on-line tools. To date, P3 data have been utilized in various 5-year reports, other FS documents, journal articles, etc. In January 2011 a P3 Reporting task team was started with the objective to make P3 data available through our online reporting tools. Initial discussions have focused on the level of reporting desired, review of the P3 core tables, appropriate stratifications, needed evaluations and attributes, etc. Because more work has been accomplished with down-woody materials, it will be used as a template for the other P3 indicators. Some future actions include re-evaluating P3 measurements in terms of aligning with FIA/FS/partners mission areas and products or outputs provided, re-evaluating the intensity plots of phase 3 measurements with collected NA013 move P3 indicators to P2 versions, and/or move all/some of P3 measurements to core optional from core.

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  3. Willam Burkman , USDA FS SRS FIA
    Program Manager

    Title: Adaptive data correction at remeasurement: What to do when errors are discovered?

    FIA has a integrated quality assurance (QA) program across all aspects of implementation. This QA program includes both activities for field data collection and data processing/analysis. Field data collection items include a National field guide and procedures, training sessions, quality control data collection and corrective review and action for items discovered in these activities Data processing/analysis procedures include range/valid code checks, logic checks, and analyst review of draft output. Corrective actions within field operations, crews are given some information: dbh, azimuth, species, etc. within the data recorder (PDR) for time 2 (T2) measurement. Other variables are NA01ChiddenNA01D and are only shown to crew if there is a logic check discrepancy. These checks are range or valid code checks and logic checks, e.g. comparison of two variables from T2 or compare same variable from T1 and T2. Post field data correction includes the same checks within the PDR plus more complex logic checks. A QA tool for analysts is in development for evaluation of potential data errors. Questions still remain - When to change and how far back to go? and What happens if NA01CfixedNA01D data does not match previously published information?

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  4. Richard Guldin , FS R
    Staff Director

    Title: Current Budgetary Challenges for FS R

    The current federal budgetary situation is very fluid. It appears highly likely that a substantial funding reduction will be imposed on the FIA program in FY 2011. The fluid budgetary environment has led us to some serious rethinking about what the "core FIA program" is that we will be able to deliver in FY 2011 and FY 2012. If substantial funding reductions become reality, then we will need to make adjustments, while adhering to two core strategies: (1) maintain a consistent national program that is active in all 50 States; and (2) continue with an annualized inventory. Delivering these two strategies will require us to sharpen the focus of the FIA program by redefining the national core data to be collected and the analyses, reporting, and techniques research to be conducted.

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  5. Sean Healey , US Forest Service; IW-FIA
    Research Ecologist

    Title: FIA, Remote Sensing, and REDD

    The US Forest Service is participating in the development of a number of satellite-derived spatial products which are intended to improve the efficiency and precision of forest inventory operations while generating additional resource information. These products include the next Tree Canopy Cover map for the National Land Cover Database and a nationally uniform, spatially explicit fire effects dataset from the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity project. Techniques developed under these projects have significant potential to contribute to the monitoring, reporting, and verification of actions which may be creditable under a United Nations initiative called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). Ongoing work with Bhutan is given as an example of how products developed in the US may inform international monitoring efforts.

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  6. Greg Kujawa , Forest Service, NFS, WO
    Inventory, Monitoring, and Restoration Coordinator

    Title: Information Needs - NFS Update

    National Forest System vegetation management is a key component of several emerging national policies, goals, and priorities. In addition, the soaring Federal deficit has brought increasing public scrutiny of agency mission relevance and delivery. Other Federal and State agencies also face this or related issues. This environment presents a real incentive and opportunity to focus and align NFS and other agencies' vegetation information management business processes, tools, and data to gain much needed efficiencies and effectiveness.

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  7. John Paul McTague , Rayonier, Inc
    Growth

    Title: Technology Transfer Ideas from the Private Sector

    The movement toward better merchandizing and the extraction of significantly higher value from timberland management involves the use of stem mapping. Precision forestry relies heavily upon the use of remotely sensed LiDAR and ground-baser laser measurements for spatially locating the size and coordinates of individual trees. Several techniques for acquiring ground-based spatial coordinates are examined. The matching of forest attributes from remotely sensed LiDAR data and ground-based data continues to present considerable room for improvement. The potential role of FIA plots for improving the matching of ground-based and remotely sensed LiDAR data is proposed.

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  8. Jay O'Laughlin , University of Idaho
    Professor of Forestry

    Title: FIA and Bioenergy Policy/Analyses

    Trends reveal more about forests than current inventory estimates alone, and are useful in policy analyses. Forest carbon stock change is the accepted international protocol for judging whether forests function as net sources or sinks of carbon emissions by comparing a current estimate with 1990 baseline data. This is problematic as 1990 was not an RPA assessment year. Also problematic are inexplicable changes from 1997 to 2007 in, for example, timberland ownership and sound dead wood estimates. Another issue is assessment of potential energy feedstocks from forest biomass (logging residues and pre-commercial thinnings).

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  9. Janet Ohmann , PNW Research Station
    Research Forester

    Title: Spatial monitoring of older forest habitat in the PNW

    The Northwest Forest Plan of 1994 aims to preserve late-successional and old-growth forests and associated species in the Pacific Northwest. Monitoring of Plan effectiveness involves both plot- and map-based approaches. For the 15-year assessment, we implemented new methods for mapping forest conditions and disturbances that integrate data from Landsat time series and regional inventory plots. I will describe the nearest-neighbor imputation methods used for mapping older forest at the beginning and end of the monitoring period, compare the results with disturbance maps and sample-based estimates, and discuss the various sources of error and uncertainty. Finally, I will describe research in progress to address some of the key challenges for spatial monitoring of forest dynamics at this scale.

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  10. Charley Peterson , USFS PNW Station
    Program Manager

    Title: Emerging Issues

    There are number of emerging issues for the national FIA Program then can be thought of as changing user needs, in particular the increased requests for sample data on all lands from Spatial Data Services, with the goal of using remote sensing tied to ground samples to produce maps and modeled results for strategic planning. The needs include taking an all lands approach to planning for National Forests and Regions over large landscapes, state assessment requirements, and mega-remote sensing efforts (non-USDA federal agencies, universities, large laboratories) wanting plots for ground validation. Requests are increasingly made for FIA confidential plot data (i.e., exact locations). Some of the requestors are traditional users whose current information needs cannot be met by using just the publicly available FIADB, while others are non-traditional users who are not familiar with the FIA database nor the procedures for requesting more exact information, but appear in a hurry to get the data. The complexity of analyses and size of databases being intersected are straining capacity of FIANA019s Spatial Data Services.

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  11. Greg Reams , USFS
    FIA National Program Leader

    Title: Progress Toward Compatibility Among Regions

    With initial implementation of the FIA annual forest inventory design in 1998 the program in 2011 completed the establishment of active inventories in all 50 states. FIA maintains national standards. These include a national field manual, national data recorder, a national information management system,and having current data on line in the FIADB for 44 states. FIA has completed it's transition to issue driven five year state reports which include changes in the status and trends on forest area, forest health and productivity attributes. FIA has contributed significantly to producing state assessments of forest conditions. Results of state assessments have identified policy and management opportunities for maintaining sustainable forests. FIA continues to serve as the foundation of the national RPA effort to project future forest conditions for our nations forests. In 2010 FIA completed a national forest biomass and carbon assessment for all private and public forest lands.

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  12. Steve Reutebuch , PNW Res. Station
    Team Leader

    Title: Lidar: Use and potential

    Airborne laser scanning (aka, Light Detection And Ranging, LIDAR) has become the most efficient and accurate method for high-resolution terrain mapping over large areas. Many states have initiated or completed state-wide LIDAR campaigns that have collected LIDAR at resolutions useful for mapping forest structure. However, the lack of well-georeferenced ground plots with remeasurements collected near the time of LIDAR data acquisitions has limited the usefulness of most LIDAR acquisitions for estimation of forest inventory variables. This presentation will discuss requirements for successful use of LIDAR data for estimation of forest inventory variables and limitations of LIDAR for such estimation.

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  13. Francis Roesch , USDA Forest Service - SRS FIA
    Mathematical Statistician

    Title: On The Value of Macroplots for FIA

    Optionally, FIA units may use either a bi-areal or tri-areal field plot design. The additional design element in the tri-areal design is known as the macroplot, and has been used extensively by the PNW FIA unit. A recent paper (Roesch and Van Deusen, 2010)1 suggested that a significant improvement in the estimation of diameter distributions could be realized through an increased use of the macroplot by FIA. Several advantages of the macroplot with respect to the estimation of marginally rare phenomena are discussed here, in light of expected relative costs.

    1Roesch, F. A. and P.C. Van Deusen. 2010. Anomalous Diameter Distribution Shifts Estimated from FIA Inventories through Time. Forestry 83(3):269-276. doi: 10.1093/forestry/cpq009 http://forestry.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/cpq009?ijkey=ihy0OfI8cAfv0R3&keytype=ref

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  14. Ken Skog , USDA Forest Service
    Project Leader

    Title: Wood bioenergy carbon accounting – beyond carbon neutrality

    Forest biomass burned for energy can be regrown, absorbing carbon emitted, but regrowth is not immediate. As a result an increase in wood burning for energy can result in a time path with initial emissions followed by carbon absorption by the forest. The time path of emissions/ absorption varies by biomass source. Carbon neutrality number, CN(t), indicates the ratio of net emissions/ recovery over time (t) divided by emission if wood was not burned for energy. CN(0) may be less than 0. When CN(t)=0 net emissions from wood burning and forest recovery are equal to the fossil alternative. If CN(t) reaches 1, carbon recovery equals emissions by the fossil alternative. Zanchi, Pena and Bird, Joanneum Research, Graz, Austria estimate CN(t) for an increase in wood use to constant year to year supply for several example sources. If wood displaces coal that would burn with equal efficiency then for a logging residue case CN(30)= 0.6 and CN(100)= 0.85; for additional thinnings in a 90-year rotation forest CN(t) < 0 until 170 to 230 years; for short rotation woody crops on fallow land CN(0) > 1 going toward 1 over time.

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  15. Brad Smith , FIA WO
    Associate National Program Manager

    Title: 2010 FIA Business Update

    This presentation provides information from the 2010 FIA Business Report which is now available on the web here . Information is provided on the status of State implementation, partner support, availability of data, State reports and the current and future budget situation.

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  16. Brad Smith , FIA WO
    Associate National Program Manager

    Title: 2010 FIA Biomass Update

    This presentation provides an overview of latest activity in the area of biomass estimation. New carbon figures by State and landowner group for 5 major forest carbon pools have been posted to the web here . Special tables have also been prepared and are available on the web to respond to the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) that report carbon by the major pools by ecoregion.

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  17. Brad Upton , NCASI
    Principal Research Engineer

    Title: Biomass Issues: Evolution Since Last Year

    An overview of key developments in biomass issues relevant to forests and the forest products industry will be provided. Debate over the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation benefits of biomass energy have intensified. US Environmental Protect Agency actions have included calls for information on attributes of biomass, ruling to treat biogenic CO2 the same as fossil CO2 in permitting, and a later decision to defer regulation of biogenic CO2 for several years. Progress on international climate negotiations and efforts to pass federal climate legislation in the US have stalled, however states such as California are moving forward on cap and trade programs. These and other issues will be summarized.

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  18. Paul Van Deusen , NCASI
    Principal Research Scientist

    Title: The value of FIA remeasurement data

    The annual inventory system began over 10 years ago in the East. At that time, remeasured plots were not available and the moving average estimator seemed adequate. Remeasured data are now available for most states in the East and will be increasingly available in the West in the next few years. Users are often more interested in trends than current estimates of standing volume, biomass or carbon. The FIA data base increases in value each year as more remeasured plots are added. The simple moving average is not capable of capturing the full value of this time series data. Some alternative estimators are discussed along with the many applications of trend estimates. Definitions of standard FIA GRM estimates are also discussed. It is suggested that alternative GRM estimates could be more in line with user expectations.

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  19. Christopher Woodall , USFS FIA
    Research Forester

    Title: Timber Products Output: Where we want to go and how to get there

    Preceding the National User Group Meeting in April 2010 (Houston, TX) FIA's regional TPO programs were asked to develop a strategic plan to deliver a nationally consistent, modernized TPO program. The regional TPO programs have gone beyond that mandate to both develop a strategic plan and make incremental steps toward a nationalized program. The plan and results of ongoing work are presented with opportunities for discussion and user feedback.

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