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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Eric Turnblom
F M 362
Seattle Campus

Field Measurements

Basic field measurement skills, interpretation of aerial photos, measurement of vegetation, including stand examination and timber cruising. Concentrated field experience taught at Pack Forest. Prerequisite: Q SCI 381. Offered: Sp.

Class Description

The objective of the course is to build a fundamental level of competence with instruments, field techniques and basic statistical sampling and data summarization techniques commonly applied in forestry. Techniques including surveying, timber inventory, growth and yield analysis, interpretation of aerial photos and photogrammetry, and characterization of forest structure will be covered. The basics of westside log scaling practices will be covered as well. Specifically, students will become familiar with Diameter tape & calipers (for tree diameter), hand compass (for orienteering), prism & relaskop (for "angle-count" or "variable-plot" sampling and upper stem diameter measurement), clinometer (for tree heights), 100 & 200-ft tape (for "chaining" and distance measurement), staff compass, increment borer (for tree age and growth determination), stereoscopes (for aerial photo interpretation).

Taught on location at Pack Research Forest, Eatonville, WA, the Field Measurements course is designed as a series of field exercises in which students will learn how to operate various instruments and apply standard procedures for measuring forest resources. Most days will begin with an introduction to the day's exercise and topics covered, and will end with a written report summarizing results. This core set of field exercises will be followed with a cruise project where students will work in teams to inventory and evaluate a tract of forest land. The final exam will include a field practicum and subsequent data analysis.

Recommended preparation

Students should be familiar with the basic premises covered in an introductory statistics course (QSCI 381 or its equivalent). It will also be helpful to have had a college math class because basic "plug and chug" equation solving skills are expected as well as skills in basic algebraic manipulation of equations. Familiarity with Excel software is also a plus, though a small amount of time is spent on several basic Excel concepts to assist those with no prior exposure.

Class Assignments and Grading

Each assignment generally introduces a new measurement technique, sampling methodology or both. Students usually work in groups of two to four to master the field skills and subsequent data analysis techniques. It is very helpful for students to prepare for the day's exercise by reading (in advance) the recommended pages of the required text: Bell, J.F. and Dilworth, J.R. 1997. Log Scaling and Timber Cruising. OSU Bookstores, Corvallis, OR. 444 p.

Grades will be assigned as a weighted average of reports on field exercises (approx. 45%), Cruise Project (approx. 20%), final exam (approx. 25%), and demonstrated field expertise (10%). The only exam mirrors the general nature of the assignments in that it is open books and open notes.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Eric Turnblom
Date: 06/03/1998