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Interface Forestry

forest stewardship in the wildland-urban interface

Notes and Research

Forest Monitoring

We monitor forest conditions on the stand or landscape level according to the client's specific management objectives and needs. Alternatively, we can design a monitoring plan with easy-to-use instructions, schedules, maps, and other aids, so landowners can gather data themselves.

Some common monitoring objectives focus on:

  • Wildfire fuel loadings.
  • Weed management.
  • Stream water quality.
  • Post-treatment site restoration. Post-treatment monitoring might include periodically sampling for insect damage or the survival rate of planted trees. Or it could involve a yearly walk-through to visually gauge blow-downs, tree mortality, or unwanted in-fill of tree saplings.
  • Health and vigor of special zones, including riparian zones, rare or endangered plant species habitat, or other sensitive or declining ecological features, for example, quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) groves.

Forest Monitoring generally follows a larger forest or stand planning process and is part of a larger management effort linked to stated management objectives. From these objectives we form measurable indicators that we can test in the field.

In the context of our management plan and schedule of forest treatments, we construct a monitoring plan. The monitoring plan includes:

  • An explanation of our indicators and our methodology (how and why these indicators will reflect our objectives).
  • Maps.
  • A list of necessary tools and materials.
  • A budget.
  • A template for the necessary data forms.

A monitoring effort will usually include a geographical information system and associated database to create maps based on the data and to update, store, and retrieve data. A database is by far the easiest utility for organizing data and information for any forestry project that will require monitoring.

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