Interagency Information Cooperative's
Forest Inventory (Cooperative Stand Assessment CSA) Common Format

Explanations of Project:

Click here to download the data in ArcView or ArcInfo GIS formats



Detailed Description of Forest Inventory Integration Project

1. What is it and why was it created?

2. Who participated?

3. What are the uses?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

5. What data can be integrated?

6. What is the current status of the project?

7. What detailed information is available?

8. Where can I get the data?

For More Information



1. What is it and why was it created?
The Minnesota Interagency Information Cooperative (IIC) is a public agency set out to "enhance the use and access of forest resources data in Minnesota".  One key source of forest information in Minnesota is on public lands.  But due to different geographic information system (GIS) datasets in public agencies it is difficult to get information on all public lands dealing with forest resources.  Thus, the IIC developed a common format that allows detailed (stand level) forest inventory data, from federal, state, and county public agencies, to be joined together.

This GIS dataset contains key information common to stand level forest inventories (cover type, cover size class, stand area, stand age, year of measurement, site index, site index species, administrator, reconnaissance level, and stand identification number). 

2. Who participated?
This GIS dataset was developed through the IIC by a technical committee consisting of forest inventory specialists, GIS specialists, and foresters from the U.S. Forest Service (FS), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Minnesota County Land Departments. 

3. What are the uses?
Inventory data that has been converted to this common format can be used to develop composite cover type maps and datasets.  This data will be a useful tool for addressing stand level forest management and planning questions for lands with intermingled ownerships on a regional or landscape basis.  This common format data will complement data derived from other sources including federal forest inventory and analysis (FIA) data, and also remotely sensed data. 

The stand data can be used to assist landscape level planning projects by providing current information on the conditions of the forest.  Another application is correlating remotely sensed data with ground inventories.  Other research projects this data might be useful for are forest age structure, old growth, and studies on particular cover type or tree species.

There are numerous potential uses for this data that are limited only by one's imagination.  For example, information on cover type, cover size, cover area, and stand age can be applied to many recreation activities.  Cover type can be useful when looking for groups of trees known to turn color in the fall.  Cover type, area, and size can be used to locate possible habitats of specific wildlife species.  A person could use this information for wildlife viewing, hunting, hiking, outdoor photography, looking for certain seed trees, etc. 

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages  Disadvantages
  • Greater availability of forest inventories on most public lands, i.e. no need to contact the DNR, FS, and counties individually to obtain data for a given area.
  • Representation of forest stands across public ownership lines provides more information for landscape planning.
  • Many recreational uses including wildlife viewing, hunting, and outdoor photography. 
  • Stands are not equivalently represented due to varying inventory methods and procedures used by each agency during the collection and storage of the data.
  • The data is not as detailed as each individual agency's database.
  • Misrepresentation of some stands on township edges because boundaries between townships are not aligned.

5. What data can be integrated?
In Minnesota most forest inventory (cooperative stand assessment) data can be converted to the common format.  There are several public agencies that have stand based forest inventory data in Minnesota including: 

A majority of these agencies have their forest inventory data in a GIS digital form that can be converted to the common format.  Because of Cook County's small land base (less than 500 acres) their data is not in a digital form.

6. What is the current status of the project?
As of summer 2001:

7. What detailed information is available?
There are two documents that contain more detailed information on the IIC forest inventory common format.  The first is the metadata file.  This document describes the GIS data including data quality, spatial distribution, and contact information.  The other document is a table that lists the attributes in the data set and the valid values for each attribute. 

The common format was created from Arc/Info coverages.  In order to convert the different public agencies' data to the common format, arc macro language (aml) programs were used.  Some examples of the amls that were used are: iic.aml, and convert_2_iic.aml.

8. Where can I get the data?
The data is available for download at the DNR Internet site: deli.dnr.state.mn.us.
Current information on this project will be updated here. 
 

For More Information Contact:
Chad Skally                            chad.skally@dnr.state.mn.us
500 Lafayette Road, Box 44   Phone: 651.296.0757
Saint Paul, MN 55155            Fax: 651.296.5954

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