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Research article2005Peer reviewed

The Forest Time Machine - a multi-purpose forest management decision-support system

Andersson M, Dahlin B, Mossberg M


The Forest Time Machine is a forest decision-support system developed within the SUFOR (Sustainable Forestry in Southern Sweden) research programme. The system simulates the development of a forest area of up to about 25,000 ha, and results can be evaluated from a number of different perspectives. For a given area, a management alternative is chosen for each stand, and the system calculates the development of the stands in 5-year intervals for a specified time (normally > 100 years). An ordinary forest stand database is the minimum data requirement. Depending on what kinds of issues are to be analysed, additional data sources may be included. Particularly for multi-purpose forestry, it is very important to analyze different issues simultaneously. The system includes modules for tree growth, regeneration, mortality and decay of dead wood, forestry operations, economics, nutrient balances, and biodiversity indicators. A model for estimating the probability of wind-throw will be included as well. The current system does not optimize. Management alternatives are specified by the user. Its primary purpose is to evaluate and compare different management strategies for achieving multiple objectives over a planning horizon. Because the system is used in conjunction with a geographic information system, it is spatially explicit and has proven useful for analysing time and space interactions. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved


Forestry planning; Decision support; Multiple-use; Forest management; Computer model

Published in

Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
2005, Volume: 49, number: 1, pages: 114-128