Developing a spatial decision support system for timber sale planning on a national forest
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Resource planning on National Forests has become a complex and time consuming process. On the Jefferson National Forest (JNF), "Opportunity Area Analysis" (OAA) is used to implement the resource use mandates of the JNF Land and Resource Management Plan. Timber sale planning is an important component of the OAA process that requires the evaluation and analysis of large amounts of site-specific data and complex spatial relationships. Since geographic information systems (GIS) can manage spatial information efficiently, a prototype spatial decision support system (SDSS) was developed that integrates the data, GIS analysis routines, graphical map and tabular displays, and user interface utilities to interactively support the timber sale planning process.
The objectives of this research are: (1) to model the timber sale planning decision process, (2) develop the SDSS model, (3) demonstrate the use of SDSS on a case study area in the JNF, and (4) compare the SDSS approach to current manual methods for timber sale planning.
The SDSS model is structured to assist the planner in four areas: (1) identification of suitable stands for timber sale planning in the opportunity area, (2) evaluation and analysis of environmental and social objectives specific to each candidate stand, (3) economic analysis of the candidate stands, and (4) development of timber sale alternatives for a short term planning period. When compared to the manual methods currently used, the SDSS approach to timber sale planning provides faster access to current resource information, helps define and structure the timber sale planning process,a1lows flexibility in plan development, and assembles information for map production and report generation. Recommendations for future SDSS research are also discussed.
- Masters Theses