Outline: Master's thesis

Is there an answer to mapping old growth?

An examination of two projects conducted with remote sensing and GIS

Robert A. Norheim

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Chapter One: Introduction

Background: The evolution of the spotted owl crisis

The first mapping effort

The environmentalists' first response

The Regional Guide

The Supplemental EIS

The spotted owl is listed

The controversy quickens and expands

The mapping projects

Research question


Cultural and Institutional Context of GIS

Investigating the context of the old growth mapping projects


Chapter Two: Institutional Background

The USDA Forest Service

Origins and statutory authority


The Forest Service after World War Two

New legislation and forest planning

National Forest planning in the Pacific Northwest

Congress mandates old growth mapping

Changing attitudes within the agency

Pacific Meridian Resources

The Wilderness Society


The Wilderness Act

Focus on the National Forest planning process

Outsiders' views of The Wilderness Society

Peter H. Morrison

Interaction between the two projects

The projects are released

Chapter Three: Defining and Inventorying Old Growth

Existing definitions

Prior inventories

Limitations of existing definitions

The definitions used for the two mapping projects

USFS/Pacific Meridian Resources' definition

The Wilderness Society's definition

Chapter Four: The Mapping Projects

The USFS/PMR project


Geographic scope

Data sources and dates


Project overview

Image classification

Polygon creation

Error checking

The Wilderness Society project


Geographic scope

Data sources and dates

Procedures for mapping the Olympic National Forest

Analysis of Olympic National Forest

Procedures for mapping the other "phase three" forests

Procedures for mapping "phase two" forests

Internal documentation


Chapter Five: Analysis and Discussion

Geographic scope

Scope of this analysis

Data preparation

Confusion matrix test


Evaluation of procedures used in projects

Pacific Meridian Resources

The Wilderness Society

Elevation zones

Stand size and edge effects

Limitations of remote sensing

Definitions employed

Other research

Further use

Pacific Meridian Resources

The Wilderness Society

Previous comparisons

Chapter Six: Summary and Conclusion

Summary: How institutional and cultural factors affected the projects


Remote sensing

Geographic scope

Application of the ecological definition of old growth


Institutional agenda

Further use


Further research


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Last updated: August 16, 1996