Algorithmic decision rules for estimating growth, removals, and mortality within a national-scale forest inventory (USA)This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program maintains the National Information Management System (NIMS) that provides the computational framework for the annual forest inventory of the United States. Questions regarding the impact of key elements of programming logic, processing criteria, and estimation procedures were raised by national FIA Information Management Band (IMB the review of the estimation procedures for forest “inventory” change, i.e. growth, removals, and mortality (GRM). The goal of the study was to review these questions and develop Decision rules to provide transparency to otherwise undocumented algorithmic pathways. These questions are important because they are the basis of FIA’s timber volume, tree biomass, and carbon stock GRM estimates for the United States. This study highlighted an incremental benefit of the annual system—the benefits of consistent rules, transparent methods, and reliable trend estimates for tracking forests in time and space accrue with each new panel.