Forest inventory and analysis national core field guide volume I: field data collection procedures for phase



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National Core Field Guide, Version 5.1 
October, 2011 
 
FOREST INVENTORY AND ANALYSIS 
NATIONAL CORE FIELD GUIDE 
 
VOLUME I:  FIELD DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURES FOR PHASE 2 PLOTS 
 
Version 5.1 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
National Core Field Guide, Version 5.1 
October, 2011 
 
Changes from the Phase 2 Field Guide version 5.0 to version 5.1 
 
Changes documented in change proposals are indicated in 
bold
 type. The corresponding proposal name 
can be seen using the comments feature in the electronic file.  
 
•  Section 8. Phase 2 (P2) Vegetation Profile (Core Optional). Corrected several figure numbers and 
figure references in the text. 
  
• 
8.2. General definitions. NRCS PLANTS database.  Changed text from: 
“USDA, NRCS. 2000. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 1 January 2000). National 
Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. 
FIA currently uses a stable codeset downloaded in January of 2000.”   
 To:  
“USDA, NRCS. 2010. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 1 January 2010). National 
Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. 
FIA currently uses a stable codeset downloaded in January of 2010
”. 
 
• 
8.6.2.  SPECIES CODE. Changed the text in the first paragraph from: 
“Record a code for each sampled vascular plant species found rooted in or overhanging the 
sampled condition of the subplot at any height.  Species codes must be the standardized 
codes in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) PLANTS database (currently 
January 2000 version).  Identification to species only is expected.  However, if subspecies 
information is known, enter the appropriate NRCS code. For graminoids, genus and unknown 
codes are acceptable, but do not lump species of the same genera or unknown code.  For 
example, if several unknown CAREX species are present, only record the individual species 
present with cover of at least 3 percent.” 
 
To: 
“Record a code for each sampled vascular plant species found rooted in or overhanging the 
sampled condition of the subplot at any height.  Species codes must be the standardized 
codes in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) PLANTS database (currently 
January 2010 version).  Identification to species only is expected.  However, if subspecies 
information is known, enter the appropriate NRCS code. For graminoids, genus and unknown 
codes are acceptable, but do not lump species of the same genera or unknown code.  For 
example, if several unknown CAREX species are present, only record the individual species 
present with cover of at least 3 percent.” 
 
• 
9.9. SPECIES CODE. Changed the text in the first paragraph from: 
“Record the code for any species listed in appendix 9 that is found rooted in or overhanging 
(and rooted out of) the measured condition within the subplot.  Species codes must be the 
standardized codes in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) PLANTS database 
January 2000 version maintained by the FIA IM group (USDA, NRCS. 2000. The PLANTS 
database [http://plants.usda.gov/plants]. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-
4490).” 
 
To:  
“Record the code for any species listed in appendix 9 that is found rooted in or overhanging 
(and rooted out of) the measured condition within the subplot.  Species codes must be the 
standardized codes in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) PLANTS database 
January 2010 version maintained by the FIA IM group (USDA, NRCS. 2010. The PLANTS 
database [http://plants.usda.gov/plants]. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-
4490).” 
 

National Core Field Guide, Version 5.1 
October, 2011 
 
 

 
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................... 8
 
Field Guide Layout .................................................................................................................................... 9
 
Units Of Measure ..................................................................................................................................... 10
 
0.0
 
General Description ....................................................................................................................... 11
 
0.1
 
Plot Setup ..................................................................................................................................... 12
 
0.2
 
Plot Integrity .................................................................................................................................. 13
 
1.0
 
Plot Level Data ............................................................................................................................... 14
 
1.1
 
STATE ....................................................................................................................................... 14
 
1.2
 
COUNTY ................................................................................................................................... 14
 
1.3
 
PLOT NUMBER ........................................................................................................................ 14
 
1.4
 
PLOT STATUS .......................................................................................................................... 15
 
1.5
 
NONFOREST SAMPLING STATUS ......................................................................................... 15
 
1.6
 
NONFOREST PLOT STATUS .................................................................................................. 15
 
1.7
 
PLOT NONSAMPLED REASON .............................................................................................. 16
 
1.8
 
NONFOREST PLOT NONSAMPLED REASON ....................................................................... 17
 
1.9
 
SUBPLOTS EXAMINED ........................................................................................................... 17
 
1.10
 
SAMPLE KIND ...................................................................................................................... 17
 
1.11
 
PREVIOUS PLOT NUMBER ................................................................................................. 18
 
1.12
 
FIELD GUIDE VERSION ....................................................................................................... 18
 
1.13
 
CURRENT DATE .................................................................................................................. 18
 
1.13.1
 
YEAR ................................................................................................................................. 18
 
1.13.2
 
MONTH .............................................................................................................................. 19
 
1.13.3
 
DAY .................................................................................................................................... 19
 
1.14
 
DECLINATION (CORE OPTIONAL) ..................................................................................... 19
 
1.15
 
HORIZONTAL DISTANCE TO IMPROVED ROAD .............................................................. 19
 
1.16
 
WATER ON PLOT ................................................................................................................. 20
 
1.17
 
QA STATUS .......................................................................................................................... 20
 
1.18
 
CREW NUMBER ................................................................................................................... 21
 
1.19
 
GPS Coordinates ................................................................................................................... 21
 
1.19.1
 
GPS Unit Settings, Datum, and COORDINATE SYSTEM ................................................ 21
 
1.19.2
 
Collecting Readings ........................................................................................................... 21
 
1.19.3
 
GPS UNIT .......................................................................................................................... 22
 
1.19.4
 
GPS SERIAL NUMBER ..................................................................................................... 22
 
1.19.5
 
GPS ENTRY METHOD ..................................................................................................... 22
 
1.19.6
 
GPS DATUM ...................................................................................................................... 22
 
1.19.7
 
COORDINATE SYSTEM ................................................................................................... 23
 
1.19.8
 
Latitude .............................................................................................................................. 23
 
1.19.8.1LATITUDE DEGREES ........................................................................................................ 23
 
1.19.8.2 LATITUDE MINUTES ......................................................................................................... 23
 
1.19.8.3 LATITUDE SECONDS ....................................................................................................... 23
 
1.19.9
 
Longitude ........................................................................................................................... 24
 
1.19.9.1 LONGITUDE DEGREES .................................................................................................... 24
 
1.19.9.2 LONGITUDE MINUTES ..................................................................................................... 24
 
1.19.9.3 LONGITUDE SECONDS ................................................................................................... 24
 
1.19.10
 
UTM ZONE ..................................................................................................................... 24
 
1.19.11
 
EASTING (X) UTM ......................................................................................................... 25
 
1.19.12
 
NORTHING (Y) UTM ..................................................................................................... 25
 
1.19.13
 
Correction For "Offset" Location .................................................................................... 25
 
1.19.14
 
AZIMUTH TO PLOT CENTER ....................................................................................... 25
 
1.19.15
 
DISTANCE TO PLOT CENTER ..................................................................................... 25
 
1.19.16
 
GPS ELEVATION .......................................................................................................... 26
 
1.19.17
 
GPS ERROR .................................................................................................................. 26
 

National Core Field Guide, Version 5.1 
October, 2011 
 
 

1.19.18
 
NUMBER OF READINGS .............................................................................................. 26
 
1.19.19
 
GPS FILENAME (CORE OPTIONAL) ........................................................................... 26
 
1.20
 
MACROPLOT BREAKPOINT DIAMETER (CORE OPTIONAL) ........................................... 26
 
1.21
 
PLOT NOTES ........................................................................................................................ 27
 
2.0
 
CONDITION CLASS ........................................................................................................................ 28
 
2.1
 
Determination Of Condition Class ................................................................................................ 28
 
2.1.1
 
Step 1:  Delineate the plot area by CONDITION CLASS STATUS ...................................... 28
 
2.1.2
 
Step 2:  Further subdivide Accessible Forest Land by 6 delineation variables ..................... 28
 
2.2  Condition Class Status Definitions ................................................................................................... 28
 
2.3
 
Condition Class Attributes ............................................................................................................ 31
 
2.4
 
Delineating Condition Classes Differing In Condition Class Status: ............................................ 32
 
2.4.1
 
CONDITION CLASS NUMBER ............................................................................................. 36
 
2.4.2
 
CONDITION CLASS STATUS .............................................................................................. 36
 
2.4.3
 
CONDITION NONSAMPLED REASON ................................................................................ 36
 
2.4.4
 
NONFOREST CONDITION CLASS STATUS ....................................................................... 37
 
2.4.5
 
NONFOREST CONDITION NONSAMPLED REASON ........................................................ 37
 
2.5
 
Delineating Condition Classes Within Accessible Forest Land: ................................................... 38
 
2.5.1
 
RESERVED STATUS ............................................................................................................ 41
 
2.5.2
 
OWNER GROUP ................................................................................................................... 41
 
2.5.3
 
FOREST TYPE ...................................................................................................................... 41
 
2.5.4
 
STAND SIZE CLASS ............................................................................................................. 42
 
2.5.5
 
REGENERATION STATUS .................................................................................................. 43
 
2.5.6
 
TREE DENSITY .................................................................................................................... 44
 
Ancillary (Non-Delineating) Variables ...................................................................................................... 44
 
2.5.7
 
OWNER CLASS .................................................................................................................... 44
 
2.5.8
 
PRIVATE OWNER INDUSTRIAL STATUS ........................................................................... 45
 
2.5.9
 
ARTIFICIAL REGENERATION SPECIES ............................................................................. 46
 
2.5.10
 
STAND AGE .......................................................................................................................... 46
 
2.5.11
 
DISTURBANCE 1 .................................................................................................................. 47
 
2.5.12
 
DISTURBANCE YEAR 1 ....................................................................................................... 48
 
2.5.13
 
DISTURBANCE 2 .................................................................................................................. 48
 
2.5.14
 
DISTURBANCE YEAR 2 ....................................................................................................... 48
 
2.5.15
 
DISTURBANCE 3 .................................................................................................................. 48
 
2.5.16
 
DISTURBANCE YEAR 3 ....................................................................................................... 48
 
2.5.17
 
TREATMENT 1 ...................................................................................................................... 49
 
2.5.18
 
TREATMENT YEAR 1 ........................................................................................................... 49
 
2.5.19
 
TREATMENT 2 ...................................................................................................................... 50
 
2.5.20
 
TREATMENT YEAR 2 ........................................................................................................... 50
 
2.5.21
 
TREATMENT 3 ...................................................................................................................... 50
 
2.5.22
 
TREATMENT YEAR 3 ........................................................................................................... 50
 
2.5.23
 
PHYSIOGRAPHIC CLASS .................................................................................................... 50
 
2.5.24
 
PRESENT NONFOREST LAND USE ................................................................................... 51
 
2.5.25
 
CANOPY COVER SAMPLE METHOD ................................................................................. 52
 
2.5.26
 
LIVE CANOPY COVER ......................................................................................................... 57
 
2.5.27
 
LIVE PLUS MISSING CANOPY COVER .............................................................................. 58
 
2.5.28
 
TOTAL STEMS ...................................................................................................................... 58
 
3.0
 
SUBPLOT INFORMATION .............................................................................................................. 60
 
3.1
 
SUBPLOT NUMBER ................................................................................................................. 60
 
3.2
 
SUBPLOT/MACROPLOT STATUS .......................................................................................... 60
 
3.3
 
SUBPLOT NONSAMPLED REASON ....................................................................................... 60
 
3.4
 
NONFOREST SUBPLOT/MACROPLOT STATUS................................................................... 61
 
3.5
 
NONFOREST SUBPLOT/MACROPLOT NONSAMPLED REASON ....................................... 62
 
3.6
 
SUBPLOT CENTER CONDITION ............................................................................................ 62
 
3.7
 
MICROPLOT CENTER CONDITION ........................................................................................ 62
 

National Core Field Guide, Version 5.1 
October, 2011 
 
 

3.8
 
SUBPLOT SLOPE .................................................................................................................... 62
 
3.9
 
SUBPLOT ASPECT .................................................................................................................. 63
 
3.10
 
SNOW/WATER DEPTH ........................................................................................................ 64
 
3.11
 
SUBPLOT/MACROPLOT CONDITION LIST ........................................................................ 64
 
4.0
 
BOUNDARY REFERENCES ........................................................................................................... 65
 
4.1
 
Reference Procedure ................................................................................................................... 65
 
4.2
 
Boundary Data .............................................................................................................................. 67
 
4.2.1
 
SUBPLOT NUMBER ............................................................................................................. 67
 
4.2.2
 
PLOT TYPE ........................................................................................................................... 67
 
4.2.3
 
BOUNDARY CHANGE .......................................................................................................... 67
 
4.2.4
 
CONTRASTING CONDITION ............................................................................................... 68
 
4.2.5
 
LEFT AZIMUTH ..................................................................................................................... 68
 
4.2.6
 
CORNER AZIMUTH .............................................................................................................. 68
 
4.2.7
 
CORNER DISTANCE ............................................................................................................ 68
 
4.2.8
 
RIGHT AZIMUTH .................................................................................................................. 69
 
5.0
 
TREE AND SAPLING DATA ........................................................................................................... 70
 
5.1
 
SUBPLOT NUMBER ................................................................................................................. 71
 
5.2
 
TREE RECORD NUMBER ....................................................................................................... 71
 
5.3
 
CONDITION CLASS NUMBER................................................................................................. 72
 
5.4
 
AZIMUTH .................................................................................................................................. 72
 
5.5
 
HORIZONTAL DISTANCE ........................................................................................................ 73
 
5.6
 
PREVIOUS TREE STATUS ...................................................................................................... 73
 
5.7
 
PRESENT TREE STATUS ....................................................................................................... 73
 
5.7.1
 
RECONCILE ...................................................................................................................... 74
 
5.7.2
 
STANDING DEAD ............................................................................................................. 75
 
5.7.3
 
MORTALITY (CORE OPTIONAL) ..................................................................................... 77
 
5.8
 
SPECIES ................................................................................................................................... 77
 
5.9
 
DIAMETER ................................................................................................................................ 78
 
5.9.1
 
PREVIOUS DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT ................................................................. 79
 
5.9.2
 
DIAMETER AT BREAST HEIGHT (DBH) ......................................................................... 79
 
5.9.3
 
PREVIOUS DIAMETER AT ROOT COLLAR .................................................................... 85
 
5.9.4
 
Diameter At Root Collar (DRC) .......................................................................................... 85
 
5.9.4.1
 
DRC STEM DIAMETER ................................................................................................. 87
 
5.9.4.2
 
DRC STEM STATUS ..................................................................................................... 87
 
5.10
 
PAST NUMBER OF STEMS ................................................................................................. 87
 
5.11
 
CURRENT NUMBER OF STEMS ......................................................................................... 87
 
5.12
 
DIAMETER CHECK .............................................................................................................. 87
 
5.13
 
ROTTEN/MISSING CULL ..................................................................................................... 88
 
5.14
 
TOTAL LENGTH ................................................................................................................... 88
 
5.15
 
ACTUAL LENGTH ................................................................................................................. 89
 
5.16
 
LENGTH METHOD ............................................................................................................... 89
 
5.17
 
CROWN CLASS .................................................................................................................... 90
 
5.18
 
UNCOMPACTED LIVE CROWN RATIO (Phase 2 – CORE OPTIONAL,                         
Phase 3 – CORE) ................................................................................................................................ 91
 
5.19
 
COMPACTED CROWN RATIO ............................................................................................ 92
 
5.20
 
Tree Damage ......................................................................................................................... 96
 
5.20.1
 
DAMAGE LOCATION 1 (CORE OPTIONAL) .................................................................... 96
 
5.20.2
 
DAMAGE TYPE 1 (CORE OPTIONAL) ............................................................................. 98
 
5.20.3
 
DAMAGE SEVERITY 1 (CORE OPTIONAL) .................................................................. 102
 
5.20.4
 
DAMAGE LOCATION 2 (CORE OPTIONAL) .................................................................. 115
 
5.20.5
 
DAMAGE TYPE 2 (CORE OPTIONAL) ........................................................................... 115
 
5.20.6
 
DAMAGE SEVERITY 2 (CORE OPTIONAL) .................................................................. 115
 
5.21
 
CAUSE OF DEATH ............................................................................................................. 115
 
5.22
 
MORTALITY YEAR (CORE OPTIONAL) ............................................................................ 116
 

National Core Field Guide, Version 5.1 
October, 2011 
 
 

5.23
 
DECAY CLASS ................................................................................................................... 116
 
5.24
 
LENGTH TO DIAMETER MEASUREMENT POINT (CORE OPTIONAL) .......................... 117
 
5.25
 
ROUGH CULL (CORE OPTIONAL) .................................................................................... 117
 
5.26
 
DWARF MISTLETOE CLASS (CORE OPTIONAL) ............................................................ 117
 
5.27
 
TREE NOTES ...................................................................................................................... 118
 
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