The Inland Northwest United States contains extensive areas of complex, inaccessible terrain requiring significant resource expenditure for forest inventory, assessment, and monitoring. Cost-effective methods are necessary for annual broad-scale assessment of forest condition over complex terrain. Proficiency in the use of timely satellite image products along with spatial analysis tools such as geographic information systems can assist natural resource managers to understand regional dynamics and change within these landscapes. Satellite-derived vegetation indices such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) can effectively assess and monitor vegetation dynamics of large remote areas. This article presents a newly developed archive and example methods for monitoring forest dynamics through the creation of NDVI departure maps. The NDVI products were generated from a time series of Landsat imagery (1989–2004) to derive both density distributions and a long-term departure from average map for any year or series of years within the time series archive. A preliminary application of the data is demonstrated showing temporal trends of vegetation dynamics relating to harvesting and management within two small pilot study areas in north Idaho.
Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.