Forest Monitoring and Ground-truthing
Monitoring the forests of the Sierra Nevada can be accomplished through two distinct methods. The first is focused on monitoring the Forest Service’s proposed actions, projects, and plans and ensuring that they do not violate any existing environmental laws, disregard important scientific research, or threatened the long-term ecological health of forest systems and species. We refer to this as Forest Monitoring and explain its importance and how to proceed with this analysis in our Sierra Nevada Forest Monitoring Handbook. The second way to monitor our forests is through on-the-ground investigation and analysis of areas proposed to receive some treatment or action and areas in which a project’s implementation has been completed. This is referred to as Ground-truthing and is a vital component in our efforts to be certain that a proposed project does not negatively impact an area. By inspecting the area to be treated or logged we can identify sensitive habitat and other ecologically important areas and attributes that the Forest Service may have overlooked or purposely neglected to consider. Likewise, examining a project after it has been completed allows us to determine if the Forest Service did exactly what they said they would do in the planning documents.
These Forest Monitoring and Ground-truthing efforts help safeguard our forest ecosystems and wildlife species from illegal, ill-advised, or misguided projects and planning efforts. The only way to be completely confident that our forests are being managed in a responsible, legal and thoughtful way is to follow the process from start to finish. This is the work that Sierra Forest Legacy and others are doing on a daily basis on behalf of our forests and wildlife and you, as a forest activist, can play a role as well. The more eyes we have on our forests the better off they will be.
To learn more about how to help monitor and defend our National Forests visit our Forest Monitoring Resource Center.