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Applicability of the Design Tool for Inventory and Monitoring (DTIM) and the Explore Sample Data Tool for the Assessment of Caribbean Forest Dynamics

Humfredo Marcano-Vega1,*, Andrew Lister2, Kevin A. Megown3, and Charles T. Scotts2

1USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Jardín Botánico Sur, 1201 Calle Ceiba, Río Piedras, PR 00926, USA.
2USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, FIA, National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center (NIMAC), 11 Campus Boulevard, Suite 200, Newtown Square, PA 19073, USA. 3USDA Forest Service, Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC), 2222 West 2300 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84119 USA. *Corresponding author.

Caribbean Naturalist, Special Issue No. 1 (2016)

Abstract
There is a growing need within the insular Caribbean for technical assistance in planning forest-monitoring projects and data analysis. This paper gives an overview of software tools developed by the USDA Forest Service’s National Inventory and Monitoring Applications Center and the Remote Sensing Applications Center. We discuss their applicability in the efficient planning of national forest inventories and their use for analyzing forest dynamics. By focusing on the specific targets of inquiry of the 16th Caribbean Foresters Meeting, we make use of the Design Tool for Inventory and Monitoring and the Explore Sample Data Tool to show how they can assist with completing forest-monitoring tasks like setting broad and specific objectives, selecting forest attributes of interest, assembling and evaluating existing data, setting time/cost and precision constraints, and exploring and interpreting sample data. We present a discussion of basic sampling principles used to produce estimates (and variance of estimates) of forest attributes with the goal of promoting efficient inventory planning and data analysis best practices throughout the Caribbean region.

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