2022 SAG Award Winners

Tennessee Division of Forestry

Project Goal

Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry has undergone rapid change in its use of GIS. The Communicating Forestry Project heightens awareness of the economic impact of forest products and businesses to local communities and the state by making forestry's impact visual and relevant to legislative and public audiences. Communicating Forestry was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Modernizing State Forests Data Systems Project reinvents Tennessee's State Forests data systems to be streamlined, integrated across the state, and easy to use. This reinvention will allow foresters to spend less time entering data in the office and more time doing meaningful work in the woods. This Project encompasses many changes from collecting inventory data and managing information in geodatabases to visualizing how State Forest planning units fit together across the state and telling the story of State Forests to the public.
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Business Problem Solved

Most of the public is unaware of what modern forestry looks like. The Communicating Forestry Project brought legislative and public awareness to the substantial impact the forest products industry has on Tennessee's state and local economies.

Tennessee Division of Forestry manages 15 State Forests encompassing 167,000 acres of forestland. Tennessee's State Forests serve as demonstration sites for showing the public "what right looks like" when it comes to forest management. The Modernizing State Forests Data Systems Project provides structure and governance to the State Forest data system, increases efficiency, diverts more time to managing forest productivity and health, and improves communication and transparency about the data collected and used to manage a public resource. Specifically, the Project overhauled forest inventory with the creation of a custom inventory app with built-in volumetric equations that ties directly into forest management geodatabases and dashboards.

Technology Implemented

The Communicating Forestry Project used a dashboard to tell the story of Tennessee's industry: Tennessee's Forest Industry, Growing Trees & the Economy. The dashboard condenses economic analyses and statistics into a visually-appealing platform that answers frequently asked questions such as "What is the impact in my county?" and "How many jobs does forestry support?" The dashboard allows legislators to see forestry's impact in their districts.

The Modernizing State Forests Data Systems Project moved Tennessee's State Forest data system from ArcMap to ArcPro. The forest inventory app was built with Field Maps and Survey123 using custom configurable URLs as the bridge between these two applications. ArcGIS Online and dashboards were leveraged for seamless data sharing and tracking across the State Forest system.

Development Team Biography

Rachel Greene currently serves as the Forest Data & Analysis Unit Leader at Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry. Rachel is responsible for the Division’s spatial and tabular data supporting fire suppression and prevention, forest health, state forests, and tree nursery operations; ArcGIS training and governance; analytical services to partners and businesses; and the Division’s Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs. Rachel previously held a position with Mississippi State University’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center as research staff. Her areas of expertise include change management and strategic planning, forest inventory, wildlife use and desired forest conditions of open pine and intensively managed pine systems, landscape conservation planning, and spatial statistics. Rachel holds her B.S. in Biology from Stetson University and M.S. in Forestry & Environmental Resources from North Carolina State University.