Urban FIA: where we have been, where we are, and where we are goingThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The FIA program has been inventorying the Nation’s forestland since the 1930s. The focus of the CORE FIA program is to capture trees that meet the FIA definition of forestland, in doing so it excludes trees that do not. Leadership recognized the need to fill this gap and the 2014 Farm Bill has instructed FIA to “Implement an annualized inventory of trees in urban settings, including the status and trends of trees and forests, and assessments of their ecosystem services, values, health, and risk to pests and diseases”. The objective of the Urban FIA program is to meet this mandate by not restricting the sample methods to defined forestland within Census-defined urban areas. We will use the FIA sampling frame to annually monitor the urban forests of the Nation with special emphasis in the largest (iconic) cities of America. This is not the first time the FIA program has ventured into urban areas; there were numerous pilot studies completed as far back as the mid-1990s. With the pilots behind us FIA has now partnered with the Urban and Community Forestry Unit’s i-Tree program. This synergy, in addition to lessons learned from the pilots, has led to the development of the current Urban FIA protocols. The program is currently active in the Baltimore, MD and Austin, TX metro areas, and will add Houston, TX; Madison, WI; Milwaukee, WI; Providence, RI; Des Moines, IA and likely St Louis, MO metro areas during the 2015 field season. In this session, we will present a very brief history of past FIA urban pilots, why we are moving to the Urban FIA approach, and how we plan to implement the program across the Nation.