NEFIN: The Northeastern Forest Inventory Network
The Northeastern Forest Inventory Network (NEFIN) aggregates and standardizes continuous forest inventory (CFI) data from monitoring programs across the Northeast US into a consolidated online tool for users to search and download.
There are numerous continuous forest inventories (CFI) that have recorded forest conditions across the Northeastern United States for the past several decades. Although these efforts have often been focused on a limited geographic domain or set of forest conditions, integration of multiple, long-term inventories provides a unique opportunity to inform regional forest management and scientific applications. The NEFIN project was developed as a collaborative effort led by the FEMC to create a truly unified and application-driven database.
The goals of this project are to
- Increase the accessibility and usability of forest inventory data from disparate collections in the northeastern US
- Demonstrate how the research community can utilize this data for investigating trends in and drivers of forest growth and yield over time
- Increase connections among practitioners across administrative and disciplinary boundaries to enable greater exchange of information and expand collaborations around analyzing trends in northeastern forests
Explore the products from this project using the shortcuts below or visit the Products tab to get more details on the various products. You will also find pointers there on how to use the NEFIN tool.
The heterogeneous, temperate forests of the northeastern United States (US) represent a complex history of management, conservation, natural disturbances, and site characteristics that make assessment of trends and patterns of forest metrics a challenge. Because of the spatial and structural complexities across forest stands, forest inventory sampling intensity must be sufficient to capture the variation across the landscape. Further, the drivers of change in these forest systems have been variable across time, space, and scale. The economy of the predominantly forested states of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont (hereafter, the ‘region’) depends heavily on the health and sustainable management of its forest. While the relative contribution of forestlands to the gross domestic product for these states is among the highest in the US (4-5%) (Forest2Market 2016), the forests face increasing pressures from land use and ownership changes, declines in available forest products markets, and greater presence of disturbance agents (e.g., invasive pests, extreme weather events). Developing predictions of the future forests require a solid understanding of the current productivity, composition, structure, and condition across the landscape.
While the USFS FIA program is a robust and useful resource for assessing forest condition, it is limited in spatial resolution (i.e., 1 plot per ~2,000 ha) and temporal scope (i.e., >1999 and re-measured every 5-7 years), and focuses on tree status metrics. Consequently, this project involves enriching FIA data with additional data collection sites, as well as inclusion of stands with previous or active forest management to help elucidate how management and forest change interact. This expanded database of field inventory data will allow us to ask several pressing research questions about forest structure and function over time, and the role that site, climate and disturbance agents play in those patterns.
The NEFIN Project builds on previous work conducted by the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative. Through its "Continuous Forest Inventory Program Comparison Tool", FEMC assessed the methods and comparability of 10 CFI programs from the Northeast. Launch the Continuous Forest Inventory Program Comparison Tool to see commonalities and differences in these programs.
Using this information, an engine was developed to process data from many of these studies into the NEFIN standardized data format. We also document the contributing methodologies and techniques for standardization across datasets, and make that information available for download.
The image below illustrates the NEFIN data management workflow, where different datasets are processed in order to match codes and fields for standardization. An original copy of the data is saved, and methodologies analyzed and documented.
The data search and download tool provides filters to subset and download the standardized data, original program data, and any available files or scripts used in the creation or processing of the original and standardized data.
The standardized data synthesized from multiple sources can now be analyzed as a single dataset.
NEFIN: The Northeastern Forest Inventory Network
The NEFIN tool .
The web portal provides users the opportunity to explore and download program information and CFI data from a variety of studies.
NEFIN: Data Management Portal
The NEFIN data management portal allows programs to upload data for standardization, match metadata fields and codes, and run QC checks. Please contact FEMC if you have a program you would like to considercontact for our database.
Click here to view our webinar that shares how to use the Northeastern Forest Inventory Network.