Forest Management Assessment

GLKN Vegetation Survey 2011
Setting the corner point for a vegetation survey plot


The Forest Management Assessment is a continuation of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area's Vegetation Survey completed in 2015. The assessment added 400 additional data points and developed five metrics focusing on forested habitats within the Park. These five metrics take into account current and potential future conditions to score specific sites and habitat types. These scores rank which sites are the most likely candidates for future restorations, or determine which habitat types may require replacement after conditions like the emerald ash borer infestation or climate change alter the species in these locations.


Forest Management Assessment Details

One of the main goals of the Forest Management Assessment (FMA) was to share our findings and tools with our partners in the corridor to better respond to issues that affect us all. We are doing that with the Forest Management Assessment GIS data available along with a preview of the metrics. Later this summer, once the FMA review is finalized, there will be an additional report produced that will contain the results with detail on how this project was accomplished. While we wait for review completion, see the highlights below and join us for our training webinars that instruct users on how to use the Forest Management Assessment GIS data.

Metric Introduction

  • Landscape: Takes into consideration the surrounding land use for each site out to 500 meters. Areas of least disturbance and development surrounding a particular site will score highest, while more disturbed and developed surroundings will result in a lower score. NatureServe's Ecological Integrity Assessment, EIA, was used to develop this metric (EIA Volume 1, Volume 2).

  • Patch Size: The larger patches of continuous habitat would receive a higher score under this metric. Some similar habitat classes, like floodplain forests, were combined to allow for a more accurate assessment rather than basing this metric solely on individual sites.
  • Native Vegetation: Measured the percent cover of native, vs. non-native species. This metric, along with the previous two, allow land managers to look at which sites and neighboring areas would be the most successful candidates for restoration based on the current situation within, and surrounding that location. We used the MN Pollution Control Agencies Rapid Floristic Quality Assessment as a base for values used in this metric.
  • Ash-Erosion Potential: Incorporates the total cover of ash for specific sites and habitat types. While some areas will not be affected, one forest type has 67% of its cover as ash. This metric also added an erosion susceptibility model developed by the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that takes into account the slope and soil data for that location allowing land managers to prioritize replanting the hardest hit areas with the highest potential for erosion first.
  • Climate Change: Measures forest classes based on their resiliency for effects of climate change developed by the US Forest Service. Much of this looks at the primary canopy species for a given map class with certain map classes expected to deteriorate, while some may thrive with increased temperatures. This metric will allow land managers to more effectively plan for future conditions.

Data and Resources

Forest Management Assessment GIS Data Download: Download a Draft version of the assessment. A final draft will be available once the Final Report is completed.

Forest Management Assessment Final Report: Stay tuned for this resource once it has been reviewed sometime this June.

Training Webinars and Videos

Select from the links below to sign-up for one of the training webinars, or view the recorded video. Recordings of the webinars will be available after they are processed after their release date.

Video 1: Forest Management Assessment Overview
Introduction of our Forest Management Assessment to learn about the key features this tool has to offer. For everyone associated with your natural resources planning.
This webinar has already aired, but do not worry if you missed it. We will be uploading the recording here when it is available.

Video 2: Beginner User Training, Monday, May 11, 2020, 10am central time
The main results portion of the Forest Management Assessment data. Understand how to read and interpret the processed data. Useful for Land and Resource Managers, Biology Staff, casual GIS users, and other planners for your natural resources.
This webinar has already aired, but do not worry if you missed it. We will be uploading the recording here when it is available.

Video 3: Intermediate User Training, Monday, May 18, 2020, 10am central time
Here we dive into how to find the data for use in ArcGIS. Where to find data in ArcCatalog and the Access Database. For your GIS staff, data managers, and Biology and Management staff very familiar with your GIS program.
This webinar has already aired, but do not worry if you missed it. We will be uploading the recording here when it is available.

Video 4: Advanced User Training, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 10am central time
This video is where you learn to run the metrics and manipulate the data. You will also learn how to answer localized questions with the Forest Management Assessment by adding in your own data, and clipping out areas that do not apply to your area of interest. This is mostly for your heavy GIS users.
This webinar has already aired, but do not worry if you missed it. We will be uploading the recording here when it is available.


Last updated: May 28, 2020

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111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101


(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1 day, often sooner.

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