USFS - Forest Inventory and Analysis - Trees (Public Lands)

Latest version published by United States Geological Survey on Aug 31, 2016 United States Geological Survey
Publication date:
31 August 2016
CC0 1.0

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The mission of FIA is to determine the extent, condition, volume, growth, and use of trees of timber on the Nation's forest land. FIA is the only program that collects, publishes, and analyzes data from all ownerships of forest land in the United States (Smith 2002). Throughout the 80-year history of the program, inventories have been conducted by a number of geographically dispersed FIA work units. Currently, the national FIA program is implemented by four regionally distributed work units that are coordinated by a National Office in Washington, DC. The four FIA work units are named by the Research Station in which they reside. They are defined as Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS), Northern Research Station (NRS), Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), and Southern Research Station (SRS). NRS was formed from the merger of North Central Research Station (NCRS) and Northeastern Research Station (NERS). Some data items still retain these designations. This iteration of species occurrences contains 18,134,896 records, as of 2014-12-05.


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How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Miles P (2015): USFS - Forest Inventory and Analysis - Trees (Public Lands). v1.0. United States Geological Survey. Dataset/Metadata.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is United States Geological Survey. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

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Metadata; Forest Inventory and Analysis; inventory database; user manual; user guide; monitoring

External data

The resource data is also available in other formats

Forest Inventory Data Online (FIDO) UTF-8 database


Patrick Miles
  • Author
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Research Forester, National Database Manager
USFS Forest Inventory & Analysis
Northern Research Station, 1992 Folwell Ave.
55108 St. Paul
+1 651-649-5146
Elizabeth Sellers
  • Metadata Provider
Technical Information Specialist - Biology
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mailstop 302
20192 Reston
+1 703 648 4385
Barbara M. O'Connell
  • Author
Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, US Forest Service
Northern Research Station
Newtown Square
Elizabeth B. LaPoint
  • Author
Monitoring and Assessment Program, US Forest Service
Northern Research Station
New Hampshire
Jeffrey A. Turner
  • Author
Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, US Forest Service
Southern Research Station
Ted Ridley
  • Author
IT specialist
Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, US Forest Service
Southern Research Station
Scott A. Pugh
  • Author
Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, US Forest Service
Northern Research Station
Andrea M. Wilson
  • Author
Interior West Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, US Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Research Station
Karen L. Waddell
  • Author
Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program, USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Barbara L. Conkling
  • Author
Research Assistant Professor
North Carolina State University
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
North Carolina
Derek Masaki
  • Processor
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 302
20192 Reston
+1 (703) 648-4365

Geographic Coverage

Alaska, Hawaii, and the lower 48 states.

Bounding Coordinates South West [17.17, -168.2], North East [72.12, -64.88]

Taxonomic Coverage

Trees species of interest (timber, species of concern, invasive).

Kingdom Plantae (plants)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1968-01-01 / 2015-01-01

Project Data

No Description available

Title US Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program
Funding US Farm Bill
Study Area Description These are areas that were established by Congress during the RARE II process or in other bills. They can be/have been "released" by Congress at a future date, but until then are managed by the agency as wilderness.
Design Description The current national standard FIA plot design was originally developed for the Forest Health Monitoring program (Scott and others 1993). It was adopted by FIA in the mid-1990s and used for the last few periodic inventories and all annual inventories. The standard plot consists of four 24.0-foot radius subplots (approximately 0.0415 or 1/24 acre), on which trees 5.0 inches and greater in diameter are measured. Within each of these subplots is nested a 6.8-foot radius microplot (approximately 1/300th acre) on which trees smaller than 5.0 inches in diameter are measured. A core optional variant of the standard design includes four "macroplots," each with a radius of 58.9 feet (approximately 1/4 acre) that originate at the centers of the 24.0-foot radius subplots. Prior to adoption of the current plot design, a wide variety of plot designs were used. Periodic inventories might include a mixture of designs, based on forest type, ownership, or time of plot measurement. In addition, similar plot designs (e.g., 20 BAF variable-radius plots) might have been used with different minimum diameter specifications (e.g., 1-inch versus 5-inch).

The personnel involved in the project:

Barbara O'Connell
  • Custodian Steward

Sampling Methods

To use the FIADB effectively, users should acquire a basic understanding of FIA sampling and estimation procedures. Generally described, FIA uses what may be characterized as a three-phase sampling scheme. Phase 1 (P1) is used for stratification, while Phase 2 (P2) consists of plots that are visited or photo-interpreted. A subset of Phase 2 plots are designated as Phase 3 (P3) plots (formerly known as Forest Health Monitoring [FHM] plots) where additional health indicator attributes are collected.

Study Extent the fifty United States, on an annual basis as funding allows.
Quality Control In the past, FIA provided approximate coordinates for its periodic data in the FIADB. These coordinates were within 1.0 mile of the exact plot location (this is called fuzzing). However, because some private individuals own extensive amounts of land in certain counties, the data could still be linked to these owners. In order to maintain the privacy requirements specified in the amendments to the Food Security Act of 1985, up to 20 percent of the private plot coordinates are swapped with another similar private plot within the same county (this is called swapping). This method creates sufficient uncertainty at the scale of the individual landowner such that privacy requirements are met. It also ensures that county summaries and any breakdowns by categories, such as ownership class, will be the same as when using the true plot locations. This is because only the coordinates of the plot are swapped - all the other plot characteristics remain the same. The only difference will occur when users want to subdivide a county using a polygon. Even then, results will be similar because swapped plots are chosen to be similar based on attributes such as forest type, stand-size class, latitude, and longitude (each FIA work unit has chosen its own attributes for defining similarity).

Method step description:

  1. For most user applications, such as woodbasket analyses and estimates of other large areas, fuzzed and swapped coordinates provide a sufficient level of accuracy. However, some FIA customers require more precision of plot locations in order to perform analyses by user-defined polygons and for relating FIA plot data to other map-based information, such as soils maps and satellite imagery. In order to accommodate this need, FIA provides spatial data services that allow most of the desired analyses while meeting privacy requirements. The possibilities and limitations for these types of analyses are case-specific, so interested users should contact their local FIA work unit for more information.

Additional Metadata

Purpose The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program of the U.S. Forest Service provides the information needed to assess America's forests. As the Nation's continuous forest census, our program projects how forests are likely to appear 10 to 50 years from now. This enables us to evaluate whether current forest management practices are sustainable in the long run and to assess whether current policies will allow the next generation to enjoy America's forests as we do today.
Alternative Identifiers