Conducting a timber and woody biomass inventory of a forest is the backbone of any forest monitoring system. It may sound daunting, but as a forest owner, it’s one of the first steps you’ll need to take before diving into the substantial decisions of how to steward your forest.
Because conducting a forest inventory may sound a little daunting to most new and beginning forest owners, NNRG developed a Guidebook on inventorying your forest that, along with our Woody Biomass Calculator, is a simple and practical method for estimating the volume of timber and woody biomass in a forest.
The goal of the guidebook is to provide landowners with a practical inventory system for estimating the volume of timber and woody biomass in their forest. By using these guidelines, landowners can more easily collect information to inform their forest management decisions. Such decisions may include whether to commercially or pre-commercially thin a forest, when to do it, which trees to remove when thinning, and what to do with the thinned woody biomass.
The guidebook introduces inventory concepts and techniques, explains how to collect field data, and provides guidance on how to analyze the field data using the Woody Biomass Calculator. Together these tools can help inform forest management decisions and answer questions like:
- How much timber volume is in my forest?
- How much should I remove? How much should I retain to meet my management goals?
- Which trees have merchantable value? Which ones do not?
- How much wood should I leave on the ground during thinning to improve soil health and wildlife habitat?
- Will I increase fire risk if I leave too much dead wood in my forest?
- How much woody biomass can I remove from my forest to use for firewood, biochar, and other projects?
Going through the inventory process means more time in the woods and a deeper knowledge of the stocking and composition. These tools will help you better understand what management steps to take to create and maintain a healthy, productive forest.
Keen on learning more forest inventory and monitoring methods to help you better know your forest? Check out NNRG’s monitoring and inventory resources.