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

John F. Eldredge john at jfeldredge.com
Sun May 12 20:06:59 UTC 2013

If you have an area that cannot grow trees, due to altitude, inadequate groundwater, or having exposed rock rather than soil (as with many mountaintops), then, in what sense is it a managed forest?  I am not talking about areas that are temporarily treeless due to the trees having been harvested.

stevea <steveaOSM at softworkers.com> 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?
> Boundary, yes.  (As Greg Troxel pointed out as "one of the three 
> things going on here:  boundaries, landuse and land cover"). 
> Protected area, yes.  The park:type tag seems to be a more recent 
> (circa 2009/2010) "invention" by Apo42, a California-based OSM 
> volunteer who also maps in Austria.  (Being somewhat local to one 
> another, he and I have gone on hikes together and discuss OSM more 
> than occasionally).    I'll let Apo speak for himself, but I really 
> like the park:type tag, so I use it extensively.  It seems to be 
> something he started with his CASIL-based California State Park 
> uploads, but it is quite extensible to park:type=county_park, 
> city_park, private_park (and more), so I continue to use that sort of 
> syntax when it makes sense to do so.  However, I also believe the 
> park:type tag to not be widely used outside of California, nor is it 
> well-documented on OSM's wiki pages (to the best of my knowledge).
> I do agree with Mike Thompson's statement:  "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."  Yet, I 
> continue to believe that a proper landcover=* tag is the right way to 
> do this.  Simultaneously, I think it proper that national forests 
> have a landuse=forest tag, (in addition to proper boundary= and 
> protected_area= tags) even though they MAY or MAY NOT be "just 
> trees."  My reasoning:  "landuse=forest" means a managed forest land, 
> even if not exactly 100% of it is covered by trees.  Such an area 
> that had 50% of its trees cut down (it IS a managed forest!) would 
> STILL be a managed forest, even though at least half of it is "not 
> now trees."
> What I'm really saying is "I agree we could use better landcover 
> tagging."  I'm not alone here.
> Wilderness areas are WITHIN national forests and are designated with 
> the leisure=nature_reserve tag.  This was discussed with my email 
> interaction with Troy Warburton of the USFS in Talk-us Digest, Vol 
> 64, Issue 1.
> Here are the tags I use for National Forests within the jurisdiction 
> of the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service:
> landuse=forest
> boundary=national_park
> boundary:type=protected_area
> protect_class=6
> protection_title=National Forest
> ownership=national
> name=Name of Forest
> And here are the tags I use for Wilderness areas WITHIN National
> Forests:
> leisure=nature_reserve
> boundary=national_park
> boundary:type=protected_area
> protect_class=1b
> protection_title=Wilderness
> ownership=national
> name=Name of Wilderness
> Further answering Mike Thompson, I don't think it odd at all that 
> "parts of the U.S. National Forests are not treed, for example, parts 
> that are above treeline."  The parts that are still "in" the forest 
> are still "in" the forest (which is what landuse=forest implies), 
> even if they are above the treeline and don't have trees.  Yes, it 
> seems confusing, but only if you think "landuse=forest" implies "all 
> trees."  It doesn't:  it implies "all managed forest, whether with or 
> without trees."
> SteveA
> California
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John F. Eldredge -- john at jfeldredge.com
"Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all." -- Hypatia of Alexandria
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