
R is an opensource and free software environment for statistical computing
and graphics. R compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms
(e.g., GNU/Linux and FreeBSD), Windows, and Mac OSX. Since the late
1990s, R has been developed by hundreds of contributors and new capabilities
are added each month. The software is gaining popularity because: 1) it is
platform independent, 2) it is free, and 3) the source code is freely available
and can be inspected to determine exactly what R is doing.
Our objectives for this book are to 1) demonstrate the use of R as a solid
platform upon which forestry analysts can develop repeatable and clearly
documented methods; 2) provide guidance in the broad area of data handling
and analysis for forest and natural resources analytics; and 3) to use R to
solve problems we face each day as forest data analysts.
This book is intended for two broad audiences: students, researchers, and
software people who commonly handle forestry data; and forestry practitioners
who need to develop actionable solutions to common operational, tactical,
and strategic problems. We often mention better and more complete treatments
of specific subject material for further reference (e.g., forest sampling,
spatial statistics, or operations research).
We hope that this book will serve as a field manual for practicing forest analysts,
managers, and researchers. We hope that it will be dogeared, defaced,
coffee/teastained, and stickynoted to near destruction. We hope the reader
will engage in the exercises, scrutinize its contents, forgive our weaknesses,
possibly and carefully absorb suggestions, and constructively criticize.

