Lidar Oct 2023

Forest Resources Inventory (FRI)

Ontario’s forest resources inventory (FRI) provides information about forests and trees species for forest management units in the managed forest zone. This information includes tree species distribution and range, stand composition, and tree age, and it is used to support resource management and land use decisions and to meet provincial, federal, and international reporting needs. Forest resources inventory is developed in advance of the ten-year forest management planning cycle and is the base for the planning inventory used in planning.

For more information about the FRI, how inventories are produced using lidar technology, and a map of FRI production areas, see 



As part of the government’s response to the recommendations from the Minister's Council on Forest Sector Competitiveness, enhancement of the FRI program was announced on September 29, 2005. As part of the enhancement, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) assumed full responsibility for inventory production.

Following that decision, FRI funding administration was assigned to the Forestry Futures Trust Committee. In addition, a Provincial Forest Inventory Advisory Committee (PFIAC) was established to advise the ministry on how to ensure the FRI program would remain current and effective. The MNRF retains the overall stewardship role, policy responsibility, scheduling and priority setting, standard setting, quality control, and information management requirements for the program.

For more information about the administration of the FRI and the FRI Knowledge Transfer Tool Development (KTTD) continuous improvement initiative, with links to KTTD projects and deliverables, see


An evolving FRI:

As forest industry’s needs and technology evolve, forest management planning information needs to keep pace. Ontario’s FRI continues to evolve to provide more accurate and timely information to meet these needs.

  • Continuous or living forest inventory model, referred to as term 3 or T3 — a proposed model, under discussion, that would use new technology to support a more continuously updated inventory. For background about what this could look like, a discussion paper, the Ontario Living Inventory White Paper, was commissioned to provide a base for exploring options and approaches. Request a copy.


T2 lidar-enhanced data acquisition status as of fall 2023

Progress on collecting the two new data sources needed to produce T2 inventories is as follows:

Lidar status

Since 2018, lidar imagery has been acquired for the following forest management units:










For more information about lidar acquisitions and access to available data sets, visit the FRI GeoHub page. Note: Before it’s uploaded to GeoHub, lidar goes through quality control, processing, and compression steps. Lidar acquired summer 2024 will be available on GeoHub by late spring 2025.


Vegetation Sampling Network (VSN) field plot status

An extensive network of field plots across the managed forest supports lidar calibration and modelling for the T2 inventory. Field plot data collection follows lidar collection by one to two years. For details about this plot network and data collection status, read the fact sheet English or French.


Related resources

Research articles



Recorded presentations

  • Wood, M. and M. Penner. 2020. Linking lidar with inventory and planning. Presented as part of Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Science Insights seminar series.
  • Woods, M. and M. Penner. 2021. Lidar at work (and Q&A session). Presented as part of Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Science Insights seminar series.