May 10, 2007
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY'S INTEGRATED FOREST INFORMATION RESOURCE SYSTEM
By: Joseph Holstead, Associate Analyst
You asked for information about the Virginia Department of Forestry's (DOF) Integrated Forest Information Resource System (IFRIS©).
In 2004, Virginia's DOF began developing a centralized, web-based enterprise information system to improve its forest management. DOF worked with Timmons Group, an engineering and design consulting firm, to create IFRIS, with the goal of ensuring the long-term protection and sustainability of the state's forest land, which consists of over 15 million acres.
IFRIS uses geographic information system (GIS) capabilities to map a time series of forest management activity and forest stand conditions (i.e., different areas of the forest). This allows DOF staff (even those with little GIS experience) to go online and edit databases that store information about forest management activity areas and existing forest stand type and condition attributions. Specifically, system users navigate to a particular property and, using an aerial photograph from 2002 as a guide, map (“heads-up digitize”) the forest management work that is being or will be performed. The information enables the agency to accurately track progress toward its goals, according to an article by DOF's Mindia Brown at the Timmon Group's website.
As background, Virginia's DOF regularly provides private landowners with professional forest management advice and assistance to implement best practices, such as aerial spraying, prescribed burning, and tree planting. In 2006, DOF assisted landowners by developing management plans that covered more than 147,000 forested acres and helped renew more than 80,000 acres through tree planting, according to the article at the Timmons Group's website.
More information on IFRIS is available by contacting Mindia Brown, Virginia DOF, at Mindia.Brown@dof.virginia.gov or by linking to Brown's article in its entirety (a copy of which is attached) at the Timmons Group website: http://www.timmons.com/news-and-events/esri-fall06.asp.