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Restoration of the 1936 Statewide Forest Survey of Minnesota

posted on 2024-02-13, 13:06 authored by Merril H. Flanary, Brian D. Anderson, David C. Wilson, Alan R. Ek

Long-term forest plot datasets have proven invaluable for understanding the changing conditions and ecology across Minnesota’s 17.3 million acres of forestland. Data from past and present USDA Forest Service (USFS) Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program efforts are of high quality and are informed by thousands of field plot observations for each survey. The aim of this study was to locate historic forest records for Minnesota, identify useful data, and develop methodologies for digitizing and restoring data to a usable format.

Over 300 stand and stock tables and summary of volume tables for Minnesota were restored from the first FIA Lake States forest survey conducted between 1930 and 1938. The level of detail of the data varied, but included area of forest cover types and stand size classes, and number of trees and volumes per acre by individual species. The data was presented in an Access database with a series of tables and queries. Definitions and further explanations about the restored historic data can be found in Staff Paper Series No. 241, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.

Sponsorship: Funding provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative–Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences Department of Forest Resources and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station under Project MIN 42-019. In addition, the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station staff provided support.

Resources in this dataset:



University of Minnesota


Data contact name

Ek, Alan R.

Data contact email


University of Minnesota

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

ISO Topic Category

  • environment

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

Minnesota; statistics; data collection; forests; ecology; USDA Forest Service; forest inventory; surveys; yield tables; lakes; trees; databases; forest resources; agricultural experiment stations

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Flanary, Merril H; Anderson, Brian D; Wilson, David C; Ek, Alan R. (2016). Restoration of the 1936 Statewide Forest Survey of Minnesota. Retrieved from the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota,

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