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IUFRO The Advocate for Forest Science.
Unit 4.02.00 is mainly concerned with providing support and information to researchers, managers and others involved or interested in forest inventory and monitoring through informal discussions, newsletters and meetings, and by drawing attention to research needs and gaps in existing knowledge.
The Unit includes eight subunits dealing with various aspects of Forest resources inventory and monitoring:
4.02.01 – Resource data in the tropics
4.02.02 – Multipurpose inventories
4.02.03 – Forest inventory on successive occasions
4.02.04 – Geographic and management information systems
4.02.05 – Remote sensing and world forest monitoring
4.02.06 – Resource data in the boreal and temperate regions
4.02.07 – Large-scale forest inventory and scenario modelling
Aiming at creating opportunities for researchers and practioners to meet and discuss scientific and practical knowledge that have been accumulated separately in many countries, the mission of this Unit is to facilitate networking and focusing for the full range of statistical, theoretical, practical and management considerations in practices involving forest inventory and monitoring.
Forest inventory is a process for obtaining information on the quality and quantity of forest resources and forms the foundation of forest planning and forest policy. While early concepts of sustainable forest management and forest inventory focused on timber production (Hartig 1795; Cotta 1804), modern forest inventory concepts support a holistic view of forest ecosystems addressing not only timber production but also the multiple functions of forests as well as the need to understand the functioning mechanisms of forest ecosystems. Forest resources assessment facilitates a multifaceted analysis and study of forests not only as an important source of subsistence, employment, revenue earnings, and raw materials to a number of industries but also for their vital role in ecological balance, environmental stability, biodiversity conservation, food security, and sustainable development of countries and the entire biosphere. Forests have to be managed judiciously not only for environmental protection and other services but also for various products and industrial raw material. In some parts of the world biological resources are being depleted faster than they can regenerate.
There is increasing recognition all over the world that forest ecosystem inventory and monitoring is vital to the successful implementation of sustainable forest management. Reliable basic environmental information is needed for formulating effective land use and conservation policy; valuation of forest services and benefits; planning management activities; effectively implementing those activities; and following the result over time, to confirm the sustainability of present practices or to guide modification of activities toward a more sustainable state. This information directly supports reporting and assessing the status of criteria and indicators of sustainability and serves as a knowledge base for supporting research and development.