The forest inventory business is changing. For forest professionals, keeping up-to-date on technological innovations and understanding the different sources of forest inventory information available (and the associated terminology) can be challenging.
There are two acronyms in particular that invite confusion: NFI and EFI. NFI stands for National Forest Inventory and represents a type of inventory: an NFI is designed to provide high-level information to support national-level forest policy and reporting information needs.
Enhanced Forest Inventory (EFI) represents an approach to forest inventory that makes use of advanced remote sensing technologies such as Airborne Laser Scanning, also known as LiDAR (light detection and ranging), in combination with ground plot data, to generate inventory attribute information. Whereas EFI is an approach used for operational- and management-level forest inventory and NFI is a strategic-level forest inventory program, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Many countries are exploring the use of LiDAR-derived forest attribute information in their NFIs. Canada’s NFI aligns with provincial and territorial forest inventory programs and when these inventory programs start using EFI, the data will find their way into the NFI’s remote sensing survey as a new way of measuring stand attributes such as height and volume. The NFI is a key program of the Canadian Forest Service, and EFI is key research priority. Both NFI and EFI are important concepts for the future of forest inventory in Canada.
For more information on what’s happening with your forest inventory counterparts in Canada, click here.
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