SIMNRE Working Group
The Sample Inventory and Monitoring of Natural Resources and the Environment (SIMNRE) Working Group published the report, Integrating Surveys of Terrestrial Natural Resources: The Oregon Demonstration Project, in September 1998. This peer-reviewed document was published by the USDA Forest Service (USFS) Inventory and Monitoring Institute (Ft. Collins, CO) collaboratively with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Natural Resource Inventory and Analysis Institute. It was accepted at a November 1998 meeting of the SIMNRE Working Group and will become an FGDC www-based document.
This document describes a demonstration project conducted in northern Oregon that examined the feasibility of integrating federal surveys of terrestrial natural resources, and it presents a vision for a program that integrates or coordinates inventory efforts measuring status and trends of terrestrial ecosystems under a combined structure supported by probability-based sampling. The project included interpretation and measurement utilizing aerial photographs, and on-site measurement of a range of soil, vegetation, and animal attributes. These data were collected at a subsample of sample locations that are part of the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), National Forest System (NFS) Region 6, and National Resources Inventory (NRI) surveys currently conducted by USFS and NRCS.
It was concluded that it is feasible to conduct a combined FIA/NFS/NRI survey at the substate level. An approach was developed that will preserve the use of critical historic information from these surveys, and a common framework is proposed for estimating the forest and range land. Also developed were indicator and protocol criteria that allow compatible national and regional estimates over all vegetation types; the inclusion of measurement repeatibility techniques is emphasized.
The demonstration project featured active participation and cooperation from 6 Federal agencies. Financial support and data collection staff came mostly from USFS and NRCS. A team from the DOI-USGS Biological Research Division (BRD) made bird, amphibean, and insect observations at selected sites. The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provided data base and analytical support. Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOI Bureau of Land Management (BLM) participated in project planning and report writing. The final publication was preceded by presentation of various interim results at professional statistical conferences, by development of several non-refereed papers, and by publication of the paper, Prototyping a Vision for Inter-Agency Terrestrial Inventory and Monitoring: A Statistical Perspective, in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.
The SIMNRE Working Group is will meet jointly with the inter-agency Forest & Grasslands Inventory and Monitoring (FGIM) Group for several meetings in 1999. The Working Group will determine if it has a role working with USDA, DOI, and others in implementation of FIA/NFS/NRI integration, whether it should focus on specific topics like rangeland health, whether its focus should be broadened beyond terrestrial resources, or whether it should cease to exist.