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State-level Forest Assessments

USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis


Purpose of the Assessments

The Forest Inventory and Analysis program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, commonly referred to as FIA, is the nation’s forest census taker. It was established by the U.S. Congress to “make and keep current a comprehensive inventory and analysis of the present and prospective conditions of and requirements for the forest and rangelands of the United States”. FIA has been collecting, analyzing, and reporting on the nation’s forest resources for more than 80 years, although the initiation of FIA inventories varied among regions.

Information is collected on the status and trends of the extent, composition, structure, health, and ownership of the forests. This information is used by policy makers, resource managers, researchers, and the general public to better understand forest resources and to make more informed decisions about its fate. The primary objective of these appraisals is to develop and maintain the resource information needed to help state natural resource agencies and other conservation organizations formulate sound forest policies and programs and make science-based decisions about natural resources policy and management.

Key Themes and approach

These surveys are part of a continuing, nationwide undertaking by the regional experiment stations and the FIA program of the U.S. Forest Service, often in collaboration with the state natural resource agencies. FIA is the only forest inventory that uses a permanent network of ground plots spanning the entire United States. Data are collected consistently across the nation, enabling comparisons among states and regions. New inventories are commonly compared with older data sets to analyze trends or changes over time in forest growth, mortality, removals, ownership acreage, and other attributes. Over the years the surveys have broadened, differently in different states, to include areas such as forest health and sustainability indicators, invasive plants and forest pathogens, forest biomass and carbon storage, forest age dynamics, ownership patterns, and socioeconomic benefits importantly including timber and nontimber forest products.

These reports highlight many changes that are occurring in our forests. Some of them are cause for concern, others are more positive. Change has always been constant in our forest ecosystem and our forest will continue to change in the future. Understanding these changes, monitoring them, and understanding how they impact forest uses and values is necessary for keeping forests healthy and sustainable.

Preferred citations

Brown, M. J., B. D. New, T. G. Johnson, and J. L. Chamberlain. 2014. North Carolina's forests, 2007. Resour. bull. SRS-RB-199. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC.
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/46309

Conner, R. C., T. O. Adams, T. G. Johnson, and S. N. Oswalt. 2009. South Carolina's forests, 2006. Resour. bull. SRS-RB-158. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC.
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/33449

Harper, R. A., N. D. McClure, T. G. Johnson, J. F. Green, J. K. Johnson, D. B. Dickinson, J. L. Chamerlain, K. C. Randolph, and S. N. Oswalt. 2008. Georgia's forests, 2004 Resour. bull. SRS-RB-149. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC.
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/33078

Hartsell, A., and J. A. Cooper. 2008. Alabama's forests, 2010. Resour. bull. SRS-RB-193. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC.
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/43621

McCaskill, G. L., W. H. McWilliams, C. A. Alerich, B. J. Butler, S. J. Crocker, G. M. Domke, D. Griffith, C. M. Kurtz, S. Lehman, T. W. Lister, R. S. Morin, W. K. Moser, P. Roth, R. Riemann, and J. A. Westfall. 2013. Pennsylvania's forests, 2009. Resour. Bull. NRS-82. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA.
http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/43993

Oswalt, C. M., C. Brandeis, J. A. Cooper, S. N. Oswalt, and K. C. Randolph. 2014. Kentucky's forests, 2009. Resour. bull. SRS-201. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC.
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/47791

Oswalt, C. M., S. N. Oswalt, T. G. Johnson, C. Brandeis, K. C. Randolph, and C. R. King. 2012. Tennessee's forests, 2009. Resour. bull. SRS-189. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC.
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/42242

Rose, A. K. 2013. Virginia's forests, 2011. Resour. bull. SRS-RB-197. USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville, NC.
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/45260

Widmann, R. H., G. W. Cook, C. J. Barnett, B. J. Butler, D. M. Griffith, M. A. Hatfield, C. M. Kurtz, R. S. Morin, W. K. Moser, C. H. Perry, R. J. Piva, R. Riemann, and C. W. Woodall. 2012. West Virginia's forests, 2008. Resour. Bull. NRS-61. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA.
http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/40032

Widmann, R. H., S. Crawford, C. Barnett, B. J. Butler, G. M. Domke, D. M. Griffith, M. A. Hatfield, C. M. Kurtz, T. W. Lister, R. S. Morin, W. K. Moser, C. H. Perry, R. Riemann, and C. W. Woodall. 2012. New York's forests, 2007. Resour. Bull. NRS-65. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA.
http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/40521

Widmann, R. H., C. Randall, B. J. Butler, G. M. Domke, D. M. Griffith, C. M. Kurtz, W. K. Moser, R. S. Morin, M. D. Nelson, R. Riemann, and C. W. Woodall. 2014. Ohio's forests, 2011. Resour. Bull. NRS-90. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA.
http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/46049

Woodall, C. W., M. N. Webb, B. T. Wilson, J. Settle, R. J. Piva, C. H. Perry, D. M. Meneguzzo, S. J. Crocker, B. J. Butler, M. Hansen, M. Hatfield, G. Brand, and C. Barnett. 2011. Indiana's forests, 2008. Resour. Bull. NRS-90. USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Newtown Square, PA.
http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/37398