> Research > Intergration of Remote Sensing


It has long been hypothesized that forest inventories may benefit from the integration of remote sensing technologies with traditional forest inventory techniques (Wynne and Carter 1997). This integration could provide detailed spatial information on the distribution of forests across the landscape.From the archival data available, one can also determine the change in the forest resources over time.This information may prove valuable in studying the forest trends for a region and providing a glimpse into how the current status of the forest resource came into being.From this information, proper management and budgetary considerations can be made for a region.

Currently the United States Forest Service (USFS) oversees Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) surveys (Reams and Van Deusen 1999), which are designed to inventory forest resources nationwide.Historically, these inventories have been scheduled every 6 to 15 years with a mode of 10 years (Van Deusen 1997).Inventory plots are distributed systematically throughout a given region.Information computed from these inventories is designed for large areas (Schreuder and Thomas 1991) and is accurate for assessing the forest resources of a region or state but is not designed to provide accurate county level information.The last inventory data available for Mississippi were collected in 1993 and 1994 and included 3190 plots (Reams and Van Deusen 1999).The existing federal data collected were not designed to be precise (±10%) at the county level.Current inventories also do not describe the distribution of the forests in the state.

An advisory committee composed of industry and Mississippi Forestry Commission representatives was established in 1997 and has met twice a year since to discuss forest information needs.To meet the needs of their constituents in Mississippi, an efficient inventory system was needed to define the spatial distribution of forest resources available, to provide estimates of forest resources that meet stated precision requirements at the county level, and to make this information readily available.The goal of this project was to develop a pilot forest inventory and information distribution system based on satellite remote sensing and related geospatial technologies in concert with widely accepted field data collection and computation technologies.The scalable components of this inventory assure dissemination of technology and commercial potential.Web dissemination tools provide for promotion and adoption of this technology.