Forest Monitoring and Remote Sensing

A Survey of Accomplishments and Opportunities for the Future

by D. J. Peterson, Susan A. Resetar, Jennifer Brower, Ron Diver


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There is a widespread perception that existing efforts and capabilities for monitoring the management of America's forest resources are failing to meet increasingly complex and large-scale forest management needs. Although new technologies are available, how well have they been exploited by decisionmakers? The report finds that the United States lacks a national and timely forest database; that non-vegetation monitoring remains limited; that the nation's forest management structure impedes efforts to produce more comprehensive and uniform information; and that satellite imagery has not been widely used. Despite these shortcomings, U.S. monitoring practices are equivalent to--or more advanced than--those of other countries with significant forest resources. The authors recommend that U.S. policymakers (1) set clear national forest management priorities; (2) implement mandatory forest monitoring standards across all Forest Service divisions; (3) augment federal funding dedicated to in situ forest monitoring on a national scale; (4) explore nationwide utilization of Thematic Mapper imagery to speed up the forest inventory stratification process; and (5) develop a strategic vision for remote sensing in forestry.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Forest Monitoring Policy Environment

  • Chapter Three

    Current Monitoring Programs and Practice

  • Chapter Four

    Use of Remote Sensing in Forest Monitoring

  • Chapter Five

    Opportunities for Integration

  • Appendix A

    Specifications of Remote Sensing Satellites and Sensors

  • Appendix B

    Forest Monitoring and Remote Sensing in Brazil

  • Appendix C

    Forest Monitoring in Canada

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