Thneed Weekly – Week 2014 – 25

Two normal weeks in a row.  Must be a record.  So with that the topic for the week will be forest inventories.

The Head Penguin had the opportunity to meet with his grad school advisor, great friend and at least partial inspiration this week.  We can only hope to have his abilities here around the nest.  Face it we contract those kind of people.

So what do a couple of tree nerds egg heads talk about.  The world cup? Politics? Family vacations? NO (well mostly there was some talk of vacations)

Forest Inventory of course.

All of the FSD projects and all of his projects that his organization is involved in currently are heavily based on forest inventory styles and practices.

This could be a great chance for talking about different inventory methods.

This week CFI or Continuous Forest Inventory.

What is a CFI?

Simply put a CFI is an unstratified grid of points across an ownership, typically evenly spaced, used to get an ownership level forest inventory of what is currently standing.  Really the idea was amazing during its time.  With no real computing power each plot could be calculated and then each plot represented so many acres of the ownership.  Multiply the plot by acres and BAM you have a ownership level guess of values.

One great advocate of this was Cal Stott of the USFS.  The series Forest Control by Continuous Forestry was a newsletter he published regularly.  A nearly complete scanned set of them can be found HERE.  The FSD Scanner Penguin nearly wore himself out scanning these from the library originals.

So if these are so great why don’t we do them everywhere? Like with all great plans they were great during the time they were needed.  One large problem was that if a treatment was to be performed the loggers were to re-mark the stumps and cut through the plots like they were not actually there. Well when someone sees tree tags they avoid them.  For the concept of CFI to work the treatment must go through those plots.  What may have been the biggest detractor was the forest inventory questions became more complex than a CFI could answer.  Is that entirely true?  Well technically no.  If an organization were to blanket an area with enough plots any question could be answered.  But at 1 acre per plot across 100,000 acres that is cost prohibitive.

So should we forget about these plots.  HECK NO the Database Penguin around here would go through the roof.  But the use of CFI inventories should evolve to more of a permanent plot monitoring system.

If CFI isn’t the answer what is?  Well it may not be the answer but in a coming Thneed Weekly we will talk about a stratified stand based inventory.