[Talk-us] misuse of the landuse=forest tag for national forests

Mike Thompson miketho16 at gmail.com
Sun May 12 04:06:41 UTC 2013

If neither of the two tags being discussed (landuse=forest, natural=wood)
are appropriate for tagging a generic area covered by trees (regardless if
it is "virgin", "managed"), it would be really helpful to have a tag that
could be used for this (i.e. indicate what the *landcover* is).  This
information is useful when navigating the back country.

While "land use" and "land cover" are not the same, they have been grouped
together in other classification systems (
http://landcover.usgs.gov/pdf/anderson.pdf).  I am confused by the
"landuse=forest" definition being put forth here. Interpreting the tag in
light of traditional land use/land cover classification systems, it implies
that these areas would necessarily have trees, which contradicts the
definition given.  As pointed out earlier, parts of the U.S. National
Forests are not treed, for example, parts that are above treeline.  It is
difficult to say that areas that not only don't have trees, but can't have
trees are being managed for timber harvesting.

The Wiki (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:landuse%3Dforest) is not
clear on this point, and in fact outlines three different approaches.
 Approach 2 & 3 suggests that landuse=forest implies the presence of trees.

I also want to point out that some parts of the US National Forests are not
managed for timber harvesting.  Areas that are protected under the "Wilderness
Act" occur within National Forests, and timber harvesting is not allowed.


On Sat, May 11, 2013 at 7:15 PM, Torsten Karzig <Torsten.Karzig at web.de>wrote:

> Please don't confuse "land cover" with the
>> political/jurisdictional and geographical definition of "inside the
>> boundaries of a national forest."
> One more remark. Shouldn't the political/jurisdictional and geographical
> definition of "inside the boundaries of a national forest be defined by the
> boundary-, protected area-, and park:type=national_forest- tags? Moreover,
> how can one tag a physical forest (areas with trees present) inside the
> national forest?
> Torsten
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