Forest in Missoula Montana

Near-surface and Subsurface Sensing and Mapping for Site-Specific Operational Decisions: Scoping Paper


Operational practice of precision forestry enables improved forest industry competitiveness and heightened environmental performance. The present study explores precision forestry concepts and technologies in the context of forestry, forest management and silviculture. This paper looks primarily at the case of plantation forestry. Many of the concepts and details of precision forestry apply to short-rotation fiber farms, non-industrial forests and mixed-use public forests; however, sufficient differences exist to warrant separate consideration of how precision forestry applies to non-industrial plantation forestry. Skilled foresters with years of tenure on a property make observations and store in their minds a vast quantity of site-specific data that is not otherwise captured for use in centralized decision support. Through a process of interviews and experience, we have cataloged the kinds of observational data collected by professional foresters.

Additionally, we have identified additional data that foresters would like to collect, but heretofore have not had the technical capability to measure. We have translated forester observation and human senses information into technical terms and then surveyed the state of the art in sensor technology to match advanced sensors with the data needed. A literature review was conducted to determine the extent of research and commercial use that may be applicable to precision forestry in the State of Washington. Our conclusions are that sensors exist or can be developed as extensions of the current art to enable the practice of precision forestry, forest management and silviculture. In all cases a significant investment in basic research, development and application support will be required.

Development of research work plans, timelines and budget estimates is beyond the scope of the current project.

About the Publication 

Dooley, J.H. 2000. Near-surface and subsurface sensing and mapping for site-specific operational decisions: Scoping Paper. Presented to the Washington Precision Forestry Cooperative. June 19, Seattle.

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