Approved Update to the SAF's Forest Inventory and Analysis Position Statement

Updated to include new resources April 12, 2023
Originally published November 3, 2022

The USDA’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program is a unique and invaluable source of data to measure our nation’s forestlands. Through a rotating cast of 355,000 permanent inventory plots measured by researchers alongside associated remote sensing applications, FIA delivers a robust census of our nation’s forestlands. This data paints a complete picture of our nation’s forestlands, offering important status and trend updates such as total forest cover and projected sustainability. 

An update to the FIA national position statement was approved by the Board of Directors in October. The update maintains support for the core principles of the FIA program, or what is sometimes called the “base program.” The base program includes items like timely plot remeasurements and the continued production of the National Woodland Owners and Timber Products Output surveys. The national positional statement also addresses newer issues, such as increased demand for data and other partnership projects, as well as updates to the program’s funding structure and transparency. The position statement provides important context for each of these topics through an overview of the program’s history, structure, and accomplishments. To read the updated position statement, click here

Beyond our longstanding position statement on the topic, SAF has played a supportive role in the administration of the FIA program. For over twenty years, SAF has organized and convened annual meetings on the FIA program, which brings together FIA program leaders, users, and stakeholders to address the leading issues, challenges, opportunities, and accomplishments of the program. We also produce annual reports that distill key recommendations from the meeting that serve to guide policy efforts of the administration. These reports summarize the meetings’ presentations and provide YouTube links to presentation recordings. Annual FIA meeting reports can be found on SAF’s Advocacy and Outreach webpage

We would like to thank Sharon Jean-Philippe and Tom Troxel of the Committee on Forest Policy for their work as lead authors on this statement. We’d also like to thank the entire Committee on Forest Policy, the Forest Science & Technology Board, working group members, and the Board of Directors for their contributions. If you’re interested in exploring more of SAF’s National Position Statements, click the link here

In addition to the position statement, SAF developed a shareable briefer that summarizes the statement and social media graphics to educate decision makers and the public. Members are welcome to share these resources with their networks.

Download the briefer and the graphics here: 
Briefer (PDF)
Briefer (PNG)
Facebook/Twitter Graphics (Zipped Folder)
Instagram Graphics (Zipped Folder)