Forest Monitoring & Evaluation


Forestry is the science, business and art of growing forests for the benefit of humanity. This set of 9 lectures is designed to introduce some of the basic skills required to manage forests by applying scientific and business principles. Without measurement and quantification there can be no science, so there are lectures on how to measure trees and forests, on how to use statistical theory, mathematical modelling and sampling methods to project measurements in space and time. Other lectures demonstrate how to use optimisation techniques to meet defined goals and the impact of new technologies, such as remote sensing, including how visualisation might be incorporated to improve decision-making.

  • Suggested Pre-reading
  • Do you want to learn more about this subject? Additional  Reading

About the Lecturer

Dr Brian J. Turner, BSc (For) (Syd U), Dip For (AFS, Canb), MF and D For (Yale), FIFA

Brian began his career in 1959 doing forest inventories for the Forestry Commission of NSW and as a sub-district forester before undertaking postgraduate studies at Yale University. On his return to Sydney he was assigned as a specialist in providing statistical advice to forest researchers, writing computer programs for them and designing forest inventories.

In 1969 he moved to the USA and for the next 15 years taught quantitative forestry subjects to 3rd and 4th year forestry students at Pennsylvania State University. His research interests ranged from developing volume tables for the Pennsylvania Forestry Bureau to the analysis of data from earth observing satellites under contract to NASA. Brian and family returned to Australia in 1984, to the Australian National University, as Reader in Forestry and continued teaching forestry and conducting research and consultancies in quantitative aspects of forestry until and beyond his retirement from ANU in 2001.
He has been a member of the Institute of Foresters of Australia (now Forestry Australia) since his undergraduate student days, was Managing Editor of “Australian Forestry” for several years and has maintained an active interest in its meetings and conferences.

3.1.1 Basic Science of Measurement – Maps

In this video:

  • Why maps?
  • Reading maps
  • Geographic Information Systems

3.1.2 Basic Science of Measurement – Statistics

In this video:

  • Why statistics are important?
  • Statistical methods
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Choosing the sample
  • Experimental design
  • Outliers
  • Presenting the results

3.1.3 Basic Science of Measurement – Modelling

In this video:

  • Why model?
  • A Scenario: A new plantation! How much volume
  • Simple Linear Regression
  • Estimating the coefficients
  • Multiple and non-linear regression
  • Growth and yield models
  • Process-based models

3.3.1 Resource Modelling – Simulation

In this video:

  • The sustained yield concept
  • The normal forest
  • Historical forest models
  • Growth simulations

3.3.2 Resource Modelling – Optimisation

In this video:

  • What is “the best”? goals; objectives; aims; criteria
  • Maximising and minimising
  • Linear program (Simplex method)
  • Maxmillion and FORPLAN
  • Optimisation models in Australian Forestry
  • The thinning problem
  • Incorporation into operational planning

3.4.1 Assessing the Forest – Tree Measurement

In this video:

  • Correct ways to measure standing trees: Diameter, height, and other measurements
  • Correct way to measure stands of trees: Basal area per hectare (Pre) dominant height of stand
  • Other forest measurement

3.4.1 Assessing the Forest – Inventories

In this video:

  • Why an inventory?
  • The population and the sampling unit
  • The “Plot”: How large? What shape? How arranged? What to measure on the plot?
  • Randomness: Simple, stratified, cluster, systematic (when appropriate)
  • Point sampling
  • Permanent plots

3.5.1 New Technologies – Remote Sensing

In this video:

  • Aerial photography
  • Image processing
  • Earth-observing satellites
  • Forestry applications

3.5.1 New Technologies – GPS

In this video:

  • Global Positioning Systems
  • LiDAR: Light Detection and Ranging
  • Drones – unmanned aerial vehicles
  • The future? Realistic Visualisation?