United States Forest Service Logo


Data Stewardship is the oversight and management of data at all levels of the Forest Service. A data stewardship strategy outlines roles and responsibilities for appropriate data collection, editing, management, analysis, and monitoring. These inform specific forest management program needs. Robust data stewardship establishes accountability for the content, documentation, quality, and dissemination of data. Ultimately, a data stewardship strategy explains how a forest management program will harness agency data to inform decision-making.

Problem and Solution

In examining data stewardship, two particular matters were discovered. First, related NRM corporate databases (FACTS, WIT, TIMS, PALS, etc) pose the most significant hurdle to integrated data stewardship workflows. They divide geospatial data managers from tabular data managers. Second, the Chugach and Tongass National Forests represent very different management objectives. As a result, reconciling data needs across the two Forests remains a challenge for the region.

The Assessment and Findings Report’s (made for this project) purpose is to identify and characterize standard issues. This includes performance, process, data, application, management, security, and possibly technical. Its first step is to document in a very systematic way. The assessment documents existing data stewardship workflows within the Region. Also, it identifies promising opportunities for improvement. Using these reports, Xentity issued and then implemented recommendations in helping USFS Alaska’s data stewardship strategy. The focus in particular was on the aforementioned NRM corporate databases and National Forests. By providing recommendations and improvements to their strategy, Xentity helped integrate stewardship workflows and helped reconcile data needs across the two National Forests.

Outcome and Benefit

The Assessment and Findings Report made for this project helped inform a regional plan for addressing issues with recommendations. This way, National Forest management decisions in Alaska are informed by accurate, timely, consistent, and well-organized data. Ultimately, USFS Alaska’s data stewardship strategy, as mentioned before, will help explain how the program harnesses agency data to inform decision making.