Forest Measurement and Biometrics in Forest Management: Status and Future Needs of the Pacific Northwest USA
Forest measurement and biometrics (FMB) programs have been at the heart of forestry education in North America since its beginnings at the Biltmore Forest School more than 100 years ago. Over the intervening period, the field of forestry has changed in critical ways. There are many forest management and policy issues that, at first glance, do not appear to involve FMB but which, on further examination, are found to be closely linked. In this regard, FMB has both an “inside” and “outside.” The outside part faces interactions with its clients and front-line sciences (e.g., forest ecology, silviculture, etc.) which bring new data-analytic ideas to FMB. The clients and professionals in these allied sciences need solutions to pressing quantitative questions. The inside face relates to the need to extend the structure of statistical inference, integrate emerging technologies, and adapt mathematical and statistical precepts to FMB needs. In this essay, we provide a brief overview of the current diversity of FMB applications using examples from business, policy analysis, and ecosystem and landscape analysis; offer our views on the most critical challenges facing FMB researchers and practitioners in the 21st Century; and outline ways how FMB professionals and academic forestry programs might cooperate to meet these challenges. We assert that FMB needs to be responsive to contemporary resource management challenges and address the many land management challenges in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.
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