North Dakota maps tree resources with aerial imagery

BISMARCK (AP) — A project to map trees on the Northern Plains using aerial imagery is helping the North Dakota Forest Service get a better handle on the state’s tree resources.
The Bismarck Tribune reports that the state has partnered with the forest service departments of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota to collect data and determine where critical tree resources are declining.
Forest health officials say nearly 2 percent of the state’s area is native forest, and that the weather and soil isn’t conducive to traditional forests.
North Dakota planted windbreaks after severe dust storms in the 1930s, but their condition is aging. Forest Health Manager Lezlee Johnson says landowners are concerned about the windbreak infrastructure.
Johnson says the project’s results could double the amount of tree cover that was previously counted under the state forest inventory program.