Monitoring Victoria’s public forests: implementation of the Victorian Forest Monitoring Program
A new strategic inventory across all publicly managed forests has been installed in Victoria. For the preceding two decades, Victoria’s forest inventory has been compiled from various data sources from across the state, an approach that doesn’t allow information about the nature and rate of changes to the resource to be estimated, or for projections or forecasts to be made. To address these limitations, the Victorian Forest Monitoring Program (VFMP) was established, to monitor Victoria’s progress in meeting a commitment towards sustainable forest management, and to satisfy requirements for state and national reporting. The purpose of the new program is to ‘assess and monitor the extent, state and sustainable development of Victoria’s public forests in a timely and accurate manner.’ The VFMP consists of a plot-based system of permanent observational units located on a state-wide grid. A combination of ground-based and aerial photo plots and remotely sensed data are used to capture a set of basic attributes that are used to derive indicators of sustainability. To meet the monitoring needs a remeasurement framework has been developed to guide the change estimation procedures. The program was designed and implemented between 2009 and 2015 and used to generate data and information for the most recent Victoria’s State of the Forest Report. The first annual change estimate is due to be completed in 2017. A summary of implementation and proposed maintenance is presented and discussed in this paper.
Keywords: large-area monitoring, national forest inventory, operational implementation, sampling design, Victoria