Resource Assessment

various images of Resource Assessment aerial imagary products

Resource Assessment (RA) supports DNR Forestry goals providing natural resource stewards with the expertise, information and analysis needed to properly manage, conserve and sustain Minnesota’s natural resources. Resource Assessment generates and makes widely available technology-based natural resource inventory and analysis products and services to Minnesota government and the public. Our services include detailed natural resource field inventory, aerial photography acquisitions, photo interpretation and rectification, GIS and satellite image processing, and many different types of spatial data analyses. These products and services continue to be critical in supporting management of forest health, timber yields and wildlife, among other ecosystem services. Foundational data collection and spatial analyses are important to understand the effects and patterns of widely variable land cover and use change, invasive species and disease, disruptive forest events such as major fires, flooding, or large blow downs, and potential impacts of climate change. New tools for data acquisition and sophisticated methods for data analyses continue to make Resource Assessment a leader in natural resource management. Our enterprise model further enables us to provide our partners in the Minnesota DNR and beyond the most cost-effective solutions for long-term natural resource management decision making.

Services and Data Products Available

Resource Assessment still serves to provide customers with high quality data and inventory information. The Division of Forestry’s Resource Assessment is responsible for two statewide forest inventories. The Cooperative Stand Assessment (CSA) inventory for State managed lands, and the US Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program, the nationwide forest census.

  • Forest Inventory
  • Aerial Photography
  • State Forest Maps
  • Forest Resources Reports and Action Plan
  • Forest Canopy Change Detection
  • Land Use Classification
  • Updating Wetland Inventories
  • GIS Analyses
  • Hydrographic Modeling
  • Large Raster Processing
  • LiDAR Processing
  • Wetland Status and Trends Monitoring
  • Forest Fire Vegetation Health Analysis
  • Forest Health Monitoring


Recognizing the State’s inventory of forest resources was out of date, the Minnesota DNR went to the legislature requesting funds to conduct a new inventory. In 1974 Resource Assessment began as the Forest Resource Inventory Section in the Division of Lands and Forestry. They were tasked with providing informational data for a multiple use forest management program, coordinate aerial photography and arrange inventory projects. It recommended an inventory crew of six, overseen by a supervisor and one clerk for support.

Over the years as computers, electronic data recorders, GPS equipment, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), LiDAR and Remote Sensing technologies increasingly become more accurate and inexpensive to purchase, so has Resource Assessment adapted and adopted these technologies and incorporated them into improving forest inventory products made available.

For more information about Resource Assessment contact:

General questions: Dennis Kepler, Resource Assessment Supervisor

Forest Inventory: Jason Langenecker, Assistant Resource Assessment Supervisor

Remote Sensing and GIS: Jennifer Corcoran, Remote Sensing Program Consultant

Forest Modeling and Biometrics: Scott Hillard, Forest Biometrician