With forest management becoming an increasingly complex task, GIS is likely to play an increasingly critical role.
FREMONT, CA: The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) has flooded into almost every field, and forestry is no exception. GIS in forest management is offering accurate and efficient methods for collecting, viewing, and analyzing data. Here are four ways GIS helps in forest management.
• Strategic Planning and Modeling
Forest management planning involves predicting what the future forest will look like and plan management activities accordingly. GIS stores both the geographic and numerical information of the forest and link this spatial database to the strategic planning models. It allows the forest manager to effectively add critical temporal and spatial dimensions to the management planning process.
Field maps are essential for sustainable forest management. Forest managers require several maps to assist with their daily forest management activities. These maps are used for location purposes, and maps contain useful information such as roads, rivers, boundaries, planted species, and compartment sizes. GIS can help find all the topographic features, infrastructure, water points, fire breaks, and conservation areas to be included in the field map.
The effect of fire on the forest is a significant concern for forest managers. Fire management activities include fire prevention, wildlife protection, prescribed burning, and post-fire recovery actions. The modeling capabilities of GIS can be quite useful in this context. Forest fire managers can use GIS for fuel mapping, weather condition mapping, and fire danger rating.
Proper forest management practice needs detailed planning of harvesting. Harvest planning includes the identification of felling directions, depots, extraction routes, and sensitive zones. GIS constitutes an essential planning tool for these activities. Collecting forest inventory data and tracking changes are also critical to harvest planning. GIS can collect all these data by incorporating various models on weather conditions, conserved areas, fire danger rating, and many more.
Forest is a dynamic resource affected by several ecological processes and direct management interventions, which makes forest management a complex task. But GIS is all set to make forest management easier.