Looking for woodland owners to expand forest inventory

landowner and forester walking on a forested trail assessing the trees.

Private woodland owners with greater than two acres of forest can help contribute to Minnesota's forest data and receive high-quality forest inventory data of their woodlands at no cost.

By enrolling, selected landowners voluntarily agree to have forest inventory plot data collected by a professional forester on their land. Participants will be selected based on the geographic data needed by the program.

Information is only used by the DNR and its contracted PBI Coordinators and professional foresters. The landowner is not obligated to remain enrolled or obligated to any level of participation.

After signing up, landowners will be contacted to confirm details and discuss the next steps.

Statewide plot data collection will begin in 2024 and continue into summer 2025. After data collection, landowners will receive a PBI report with details about the inventory data collected, and a more comprehensive report will be sent after the project is completed at the end of 2025.

For more information about forest inventory plot data collection, email the DNR Forest Inventory

Forest inventory provides foundation of good forest stewardship

Forest inventory provides data on the species and volume of trees in the woods, and can offer insight to the health of forests and how they’re changing. This information can be used by land managers to:

  • Learn about fire fuel loads and how to reduce wildfire risk
  • Improve forest management relating to harvest planning, wildlife habitat, tree planting or trail development
  • Create forest stewardship plans to sustain healthy, resilient and beautiful forests for generations to come

To gather this information, the DNR Resource Assessment Program collects remotely sensed data using light detection and ranging lidar-based technology, combined with field data called plot-based inventory (PBI), to create precise forest inventory information across Minnesota’s ever-changing forest landscape.

Until now, PBI has been conducted primarily on public lands, but nearly half of Minnesota’s woodlands are privately owned. Private woodlands are needed to increase the precision and accuracy of these new forest inventory models and maps to get a more complete picture of all of Minnesota's forests. More thorough data will provide land managers of all ownership types with better information to help ensure the continued benefits of Minnesota’s forests.

Lidar based inventory

Airborne lidar (light detection and ranging) uses laser pulses sent from an aircraft to create 3D information of the earth’s surface, capturing natural and built features on the landscape. The lidar-derived information combined with the PBI data is used to create mathematical models that are applied across the entire landscape. Watch the Lidar applications for Plot Based Forest Inventory (PBI) at MNDNR video to help understand how DNR uses remotely sensed data to support PBI.

Plot Based Inventory (PBI)

Professional foresters collect plot-based inventory (PBI) data by visiting thousands of one-tenth-acre field plots across Minnesota. Tree measurements within the plot area are collected, including a precise location of the plot. Watch the PBI Data Collection Tutorial video for a look at how foresters gather this type of data.

Support for this project is provided by the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENTRF) as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Partnerships include Local PBI Coordinators and Professional Foresters, Minnesota Forest Resources Council (MFRC), several Soil, Water, and Conservation Districts (SWCD), and the Minnesota Forestry Association (MFA).

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