Forest Modeling and GIS
Geographical information systems (GIS) are computer-based systems that are used to store and manipulate geographic information (Aronoff, 1989). Like remote sensing, GIS have emerged as a fully functional support for resource management following a series of intensive, synergistic, technologically driven activities over the last four decades. Developments have been built on the strengths of successive revolutions in computer technology and geography. GIS have their modern origins in the 1960s and 1970s, but conceptually can be traced much farther back to the earliest requirements to assess land capability using multiple criteria, and the need to perform map overlays. The potential contribution of GIS to sustainable forest management appears enormous; here is the ideal tool with which forest management issues can be addressed — simply, the relevant tasks are
1. To assemble a spatially referenced database across all relevant scales, and then
2. Put multiple analytical tools in the hands of the users so that the accumulated information can be made to provide answers that are needed.