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A real-time visualization tool for forest ecosystem management decision support

Forest resources management planning must address ecological, economic and social sustainability concerns. Integrating temporal and spatial interactions of management options at the landscape level is thus a key planning process. Yet the impacts of a management plan on the characteristics of a landscape are often hard to anticipate. Combining decision support tools with recent computer visualization techniques may be a workable option. This paper presents a visualization tool to produce dynamic simulations of prospective forested landscapes. Its architecture as well as its connection to a forest resources spatial decision support system are described. Emphasis is on strategies to address the geometrical complexity of large forest areas. Specifically, geographic and forest data pre-processors were developed to convert spatial and biometric data to a format used as input by the visualization tool. The latter addresses the geometrical complexity to construct virtual landscapes and it enables real-time navigation over the forest in each period of the planning horizon. Results are discussed for application to a large problem. Results show that the visualization tool provides effective real-time navigation capabilities to assess forest management impacts at the landscape level.

Journal: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture ( United States )

Volume: 53

Number: 1

Pages: 3 to 12

Date: August, 2006

    André Osório Falcão (Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa), Manuel Prospero dos Santos, José G. Borges (Instituto Superior de Agronomia)
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