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Decision Support Systems

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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 toolWhat is it good for?User groupUser interface
Tree appSite type-based tree species recommendation in a changing climateForest managersInteractive app
Harvesting cost calculator (HeProMo)Cost estimation of harvesting operations (based on statistical models)Cantonal planning staff, forest managersJava GUI
WSL-kNNCost estimation of harvesting operations (based on own data records from the past)Cantonal planning staff, forest managers, scientistsJava GUI
Timber assortment optimiser (SorSim)Calculation of timber revenues based on assorting alternativesForest managersJava GUI
Small area forest inventory frameworkCalculation of management information (volume, stem number, etc.) based on terrestrial plots and remote sensing dataCantonal planning staff, forest managersPython scripts
Forest stand simulator (SwissStandSim)Simulation of stand deveolpment in response to management and climate scenariosScientistsR scripts
Management scenario simulation model (Massimo)Simulation of regional to national forest development in response to managment and climate scenariosScientists, forest policy makersJava scripts
SeilaplanOptimisation of a single cable road layoutScientistsPython scripts
Multi-criteria decision analysis systemAnalysis of trade-offs and synergies between management alternativesScientists, cantonal planning staffR scripts
Forest road network optimisationOptimisation of the forest road networkScientists, cantonal planning staff, consultanciesMatlab scripts