An evaluation of resource inventory and monitoring program used in national forest planning Academic Article uri icon


  • The National Forest Management Act (1976) specifies that multiresource inventories be conducted to provide baseline data for development and, later, monitoring of national forest management plans. This mandate entails the most ambitious and complex resource planning effort ever attempted. In this paper we evaluate the structure and use of current inventory-monitoring programs and recommend a framework for gathering data to improve national forest planning. Current national guidelines are general and provide only basic directions to forest-level planners. Forest inventories have traditionally concentrated on timber. Although these inventories are often well designed, the questions we are now asking about forest resources have outgrown these methods. Forest management is impeded by general confusion over definitions of resources and the interactions among them. We outline a simple classification scheme that centers on identification of basic ecosystem elements that can be readily measured. Furthermore, spatial and temporal scales must be considered in the design of inventory-monitoring programs. The concept of ecological indicators is reviewed, and caution is advised in their use. Inventory-monitoring programs should be goal-directed and based on as rigorous a statistical design as possible. We also review fundamental issues of variable selection, validation, and sampling bias. We conclude by developing a flexible inventory-monitoring program that is designed to provide information on individual characteristics of the environment, rather than being based on fixed definitions of resources. 1995 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

published proceedings

  • Environmental Management

author list (cited authors)

  • Morrison, M. L., & Marcot, B. G.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Morrison, Michael L||Marcot, Bruce G

publication date

  • January 1995