Oklahoma Forestry Conducting Forest Inventory In Panhandle

What type of forest and woodlands are present in the Panhandle? What are the tree species? Is our forest healthy?

These and many other questions will be answered as a Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) crew from Oklahoma Forestry Services begins collecting data on plots across Panhandle counties this month. Foresters began this important data collection in 2009. Each subsequent year, foresters continue gathering information about the amount of land under forest cover, the type of forests and tree species that are present, tree size, invasive species and forest health issues present.

“Forests, trees and woodlands provide Oklahoma with many valuable goods and services,” said State Forester George Geissler. “In order to manage this resource for the greatest benefit to Oklahoma’s citizens, we need to assess what we have. Gathering detailed data from sample sites in all 77 counties is a challenging task for our field foresters, but their efforts provide us with data that is key to our planning strategy.”

The analysis is conducted on randomly located plots across private, industrial, and public lands and includes both forested and non-forested areas. Private landowners will be contacted directly if a plot falls on their land. The information gathered from this analysis will be used to determine status and trends of forests in Oklahoma, and contributes data for similar nationwide efforts of the USDA Forest Service.

“The information we collect is added to the national database to give decision makers the data they need to make informed plans for the future of our forest resources,” said FIA Coordinator Carri Abner. “We appreciate landowners allowing us access to their land so that we will have an accurate assessment of Oklahoma’s trees and forests.”

Crews will be traveling in marked Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry vehicles and will be carrying proper identification with them. Landowners and lessees can assist in this endeavor by granting crews access to property if an FIA plot falls on their land, as well as telling others about the program. They are also welcome to be present when the crew is conducting the measurements on their property.

If you would like more information, contact Carri Abner at 918-290-9208 or carri.abner@ag.ok.gov.