Decision Support Systems

The research unit Forest Resources and Management develops and maintains a broad variety of decision support systems (DSS) for forestry.

Here we provide an overview.

Sustainable forest management aims at balancing societal, ecological and economic interests on forest resource use. However, the complexity of forest systems, the long-term impact of management actions and the uncertain effects of climate change, economic trends, as well as changes in the demand for forest resources hamper finding appropriate management decisions. So called decision support systems (DSS) may support decision-making in complicated forest planning situations. A DSS is any interactive, usually computer-driven tool that helps decision makers to solve complex problems.

The WSL Research Unit FOREMA makes available a variety of software packages that support decision-making in different sectors of forestry in Switzerland. Some of the presented DSS feature a fully developed graphical user interface and are at the most part self-explanatory, while others consist of spread sheets, R-packages or java-code and need more training. Accordingly, the scope and the targeted user group vary between DSS. Some are designated to support decisions in operational forestry while others are better suited in research applications.


DSS tool What is it good for? User group User interface
Small area forest inventory framework Calculation of management information (volume, stem number, etc.) based on terrestrial plots and remote sensing data Cantonal planning staff, forest managers Python scripts
Forest stand simulator (SwissStandSim) Simulation of stand deveolpment in response to management and climate scenarios Scientists R scripts
Management scenario simulation model (Massimo) Simulation of regional to national forest development in response to managment and climate scenarios Scientists, forest policy makers Java scripts
Multi-criteria decision analysis system Analysis of trade-offs and synergies between management alternatives Scientists, cantonal planning staff R scripts
Forest road network optimisation Optimisation of the forest road network Scientists, cantonal planning staff, consultancies Matlab scripts