4.02.04 - Geographic and management information systems


Davide Travaglini, Italy

About Unit

Unit 4.02.04 is mainly concerned to support research and applied development of information technology to support forest management. Focusing on the use of geographic information systems.

The Unit supports and encourages the organization of informal discussions, conferences and other meetings. All interested people are invited to join and participate to such activities: from the academy, private and public researchers, students, forest managers, and all the potential stakeholders.

The Unit is aimed both at boosting research developments bringing together the activities carried out in the different countries and at reporting good practices in the practical application of this technologies. Also in relationship with other disciplines (and consequentially other IUFRO Units) such as forest inventory and remote sensing.

State of Knowledge

GIS technology profoundly and positively impacts the way land managers, timber managers, and forestry specialists manage timber resources. (Geographic) Information technology helps foresters and land managers meet the needs of their forests, the demands of society, and the pressures of economic efficiency. Land managers increasingly turn to GIS for its analytic and visualization tools that allow them to analyze complex situations and make better-informed decisions. GIS is becoming the foundation for new decision support tools used in all business processes of integrated forest management.

Successful management always considers sustainability and requires a holistic approach to building a model for making intelligent decisions. Forests are complex ecosystems, not wood factories, and foresters need to put plan objectives for the all range of ecosystems services such as wildlife and biodiversity, carbon sequestration, landscape, into that picture.
Within this framework it is a matter of course that objective decisions need objective information.

Geographic and management systems are able to store, manage and represent complex information acquired trough a wide range of input sources both from field activities (from forest inventory based on traditional methods or with more advanced systems such as terrestrial LIDAR), remote sensing (optical, radar or laser, from aerial or satellite sensors) or other sources (achieves from the past, maps, etc.). Basic raw data needs to be converted in useful information to support forest management. Trough the capability to create synthetic information in the form of tabular or map output. Decision support systems are frequently incorporated in GIS and management systems, they are able to produce simulation for possible future trends and conditions helping the selection of the most suitable solution managing alternatives and conflicting interests. Geographic and management systems may be implemented at different geographic scales, at local level in managing specific areas (forest owners or protected areas), at sub-national or national level to support strategic planning or at international level (pan-European, global, etc.) to satisfy specific needs.

This IUFRO is extremely trans disciplinary since the expertise, know-how and experience from different disciplines are needed: information technology, geomatics, forest managers, economists, natural scientists.

Hot Topics

  • Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems application in forestry
  • Information systems in forest management
  • Integration of different information sources (e.g.: field data, remote sensing, maps)
  • Decision Support Systems