MSU builds timber info file on area counties, looks statewide


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Posted: 9/24/2001


A pilot project at Mississippi State to help professionals generate precise county-level timber resource information could attract new forest-related industries and enhance existing businesses if applied statewide.

A computer program developed by the university's Forest and Wildlife Research Center uses inventory data to develop county-level timber-volume estimates. It enables users to determine if adequate forest resources are available to support the construction or expansion of production facilities.

Completed over a two-year period, the project focused on the timber volumes of Clay, Choctaw, Oktibbeha, and Winston counties. The four were chosen because the combined area represents most of Mississippi's forestland types, said David Evans, forestry professor and principal investigator.

Evans said the first step involved the production of forest-cover maps through an analysis of satellite images by Veridian-ERIM International of Ann Arbor, Mich. "Field inventory data were then collected using global positioning technology," he explained.

Next, the data were entered into the Mississippi Forest Monitoring and Inventory System, an integrated software package that generates reports on timber volume in an area.

"The inventories collected by the U. S. Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis Program are accurate for assessing the forest resources of a region or state, but are not designed to provide precise county-level timber-volume estimates," Evans said. "That's what our pilot project demonstrated for the four-county area. "

Evans expressed hope that resources will be found to enable the use of MsFMIS software for other areas of Mississippi.

For information on the software, contact Tom Matney at (662) 325-2791 or

For more information on the pilot project, contact Evans at (662) 325-2796 or