The USDA Forest Service uses various forms of remote sensing in resource-management activities. Geographic information systems (GIS) are used to manage data, including remotely sensed data, in forest plan development, ecological mapping, and similar tasks requiring spatial information. An overview of remote sensing tools used in the Forest Service includes aerial photographs, airborne video, satellite sensors, and positioning systems. Discussion of applications considers the periodic assessment of forestland and resource management plans, using as an example Mark Twain National Forest in southern Missouri. Vegetation mapping and old-growth mapping are illustrated by an example from the Santa Fe National Forest. Airborne video tied to a GPS is used in the southwestern region for forest pest management. Remote sensing and GIS are seen as important tools for land management, including management of rangelands. An extensive training and awareness program is designed to broaden the awareness of remote sensing technologies, to upgrade and maintain skill levels of Forest Service employees, and to provide training for specific tasks, applications, and new techniques. The needs of today's resource managers call for more current and consistent information. Proper combination of technologies and training should provide for the collection and utilization of data for multi-resource use in a cost-effective manner.
"Forest service applications of remote sensing and the national training program,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues: Vol. 2
, Article 10.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol2/iss1/10