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4 Best GIS Strategies for Effective Forest Management

By Enterprise Technology Review | Friday, November 15, 2019

GIS is increasingly playing a critical role as forest management is becoming an extremely complex task. 

FERMONT, CA: The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) has penetrated nearly every area, including forestry. The GIS provides reliable and effective methods for data collection, visualization, and evaluation in forest management. Here are four ways in which GIS helps manage forests.

• Strategic Planning According to the Predictions

Planning for forest management involves predicting what the future forest will look like and accordingly planning the management activities. GIS stores forest spatial as well as numerical information and connects this spatial database with strategic planning models. This allows the forest manager to efficiently incorporate critical temporal and spatial dimensions to the planning process of management.

• Field Mapping for Sustainable Forest Management

For sustainable forest management, field maps are essential. Forest managers need several maps to help with their day-to-day operations in forest management. These maps can be used for location purposes, and maps contain valuable information such as roads, rivers, boundaries, species planted, and sizes of compartments. GIS will help find all the topographic features, infrastructure water levels, fire breaks, and areas to be included in the field map.

• Appropriate Fire management Strategies

Fire Protection

For forest managers, the effect of fire on the forest is a major concern. Activities of fire control include fire prevention, protection of habitat, controlled burning, and post-fire recovery. In this context, GIS modeling capabilities can be quite useful. GIS can be used by forest fire managers for fuel mapping weather monitoring and fire risk rating


• In-depth Harvest planning

Proper practice of forest management requires detailed harvesting planning. Planning for harvesting includes identifying felling directions, depots, extraction routes, and sensitive areas. GIS is an essential tool for organizing these activities. It is also important to harvest planning to collect forest inventory data and track changes. By integrating various models on weather conditions, preserved areas, fire hazard rating, and many more, GIS can collect all these data. 

Forest is a diverse asset that is influenced by numerous ecological processes and direct intervention in management, making forest management a complex activity. GIS, however, is all set to facilitate forest management.