Topic 1: Forest Inventory and Monitoring

Background Information

Forest inventory is the systematic collection of data and information for assessment or analysis of forest resource. The aim of the statistical forest inventory is to provide comprehensive information about the state and dynamics of forests for strategic and management planning. Monitoring forest cover and loss is critical for obtaining the data necessary to help define what is needed to maintain the varying forest service requirements. There is an increasing need for timely and accurate forest change information, and consequently a greater interest in monitoring those changes. Remote Sensing for Forest Monitoring and Management is a good way to monitor changes in forests. When taking a forest inventory you must measure and note the following: species, diameter at breast height (DBH), height, site quality, age, and defects. Data collection allows you to calculate the number of trees per acre, basal area, volume of trees in an area, and value of the timber. Inventories serve many purposes. They allow you to estimate the value and possible uses of timber, an important part of the broader information required to sustain ecosystems. Inventories can also be used to visually assess timber and determine potential fire hazards and the risk of fire. The results of the inventories can be used in biodiversity conservation.

Video Lectures

View the following video lectures:

2.1.1 Review of forest inventory

2.1.2 Continuous forest inventory

2.1.3 Forest management inventory

2.1.4 Remote sensing and forest monitoring

Additional Resources

  1. Forest Inventory. (Jan 2015). Retrieved from
    This article explained some basic concepts and common methods in forest-inventory.
  1. Ferretti, M., & Fischer, R. (Eds.). (2013). Forest monitoring: Methods for terrestrial investigations in Europe with an overview of North America and Asia. ISBN-10:0080982220; ISBN-13: 978-0080982229. Retrieved from nitoring+in+china&source=bl&ots=UvDaw829sH&sig=ggAphIF9I0oOM3Iy1yj_4Q2XYq0&hl=zh-CN&sa=X&ei=5oh6VMDjJqO-mgXK1oDwBQ&ved=0CG8Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=true
    This book is an introduction to forest monitoring.
  1. Kushwaha, S.P.S. (2012). Remote Sensing and GIS for Forest Monitoring and Management. EnviroNews, 18. Retrieved from
    This article introduces Remote Sensing and GIS for Forest Monitoring and Management
  1. Zhao, X., Li, C., Si, L., Tian, Y., & Yan, K. (2003). Build a new system of forest resources inventory by information technology. Retrieved from
    This article introduces a new system of forest resources inventory by information technology.

Self-test for Topic 1

Reflection Questions:

  1. How many categories of forest inventories generally?
  2. What are the differences between CFI and FMI?
  3. Which methods can be used to conduct a forest management inventory?
  4. What statistical methods are used to monitor forest volume?
  5. What data do you need to monitor forest volume?

After formulating your answers, you may post them online at the Knowledge Café for this course as a way to share your ideas and glean knowledge from other students’ responses.