This collection is a Thematic Series of the journal Forest Ecosystems.
Edited by: Erkki Tomppo, Ron Mcroberts, Clara Anton Fernandez, Iciar Alberdi and Johannes Breidenbach
In 2019, it is 100 years ago since the first National Forest Inventory (NFI) was established in Norway. The establishment of the NFI in 1919 was motivated by a fear of over-exploitation of timber resources. Just a few years later – in the 1920’s - similar monitoring programs were to follow in Finland, Sweden and the USA. Later, debates on acid rain in the 1980’s were a trigger for initiating NFI’s in central Europe. In the recent years, climate change (REDD+) has triggered the establishment of new NFI’s, especially in developing countries while most developed countries now have regular NFI programs.
One hundred years ago, the primary motivation of establishing NFI’s was to obtain an overview of timber resources. Since then, NFI’s have gradually evolved to provide answers to a much broader range of issues. While monitoring timber resources and sustainability is still a major component, NFI’s today also monitor forest damage, carbon sequestration as well as biodiversity indices and many other ecosystem services of landscapes in general. Currently, NFI’s provides data vital to decision support at national, regional and even local scales, to international reporting under the Climate Convention, and to international forest health monitoring programs. In line with the widening of objectives during the past century, techniques, sampling designs and resources in the NFI’s have evolved to be able to provide relevant answers to the society.
Maintaining a National Forest Inventory requires a national commitment to continuity and continuous adaptation to new developments in technology, analytical tools and estimation methods. This Thematic Series comprises articles based on abstracts submitted to the conference "A century of national forest inventories – informing past, present and future decisions", 19-23 May 2019 in Sundvollen, Norway (https://nibio.pameldingssystem.no/nfi100years). Independent submissions are, however, also accepted and included.