Forestry Tools

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Forestry Tools will be a Python plugin for [Quantum GIS] to enable forest resource managers and planners to streamline procedures in a GIS environment. It is currently in the early stages of development. This project was generated out of a discussion that began on the QGIS-User list.




A variety of forestry software is currently available and employed by the forestry industry. However, this software is generally expensive, closed-source, and not customizable. These factors have led to increasing challenges such as translating between formats, exchanging data, lack of metadata, poor understanding of the tools used, and for some a frustration with the inability to customize options, rules, equations, and tools.

Foresty Tools will be a QGIS plug-in designed to give forest resource managers and planners another option for analyzing forestry data. Over time, it is hoped that it attracts a wide base of users and contributors and becomes increasingly comprehensive to address all facets of forestry management and decision-making. Forestry Tools will be initially designed to serve the needs of field-level foresters.

Forestry tools is:

  • Free and Open-Source.
  • Well documented.
  • Useful to the basic field-level forester.
  • Using the most commonly used forestry methodology.
  • Easy to use.
  • Understandable to the computer literate, but not necessarily technophiles.

Setup and Use

Forestry Tools can be installed through the native QGIS plugin installer. It is built in Python. It will likely require additional installations to run most effectively (PostGIS, Spatialite, or some other database). Once installed, Forestry Tools will contain menu options to access the different features and tools.

Inventory Setup

Inventory Setup will be accessed from the Foresty Tools menu. Upon selecting this option, a dialog will appear for user input. Within the dialog, the user can select vector files and basic criteria to generate inventory plots. Depending on need, these plots can be randomly located, or stratified by stand, management unit, or forest boundaries located within the vector file. Users can define sampling intensity as well as the required plot buffer distance (so plots do not stack or locate too close to one another). Once all options are selected, the user can hit "okay" and a new vector file with the user's inventory plots. Once a satisfactory layout is achieved, QGIS can export the plots to GPX files for field use.

Inventory Analysis

Prior to using the Inventory Analysis, inventory data must be stored in a Comma-Separated-Value (csv) file. This file may contain all or some of the commonly collected inventory data (plot ID, tree species, diameter, merchantable height, total height, grade, defect, etc).

Inventory Analysis will be accessed from the Forestry tools menu. Upon selecting this option a dialog will appear for the user to select the "inventory file." This file is the CSV which contains the inventory data. First, the user will be asked to match the column names in the "inventory" file to the terminology or variable need of Forestry Tools.

Once completed, the user will be given a list of options for data analysis. These options may include: log rule to be used, product classifications, taper and product limitations, volume preferences (cds, mbf, or ft3), cruise type (variable, fixed point, etc), and associated options. The last step prior to submission, is to select the vector layer which contains the plot locations and to define the save location. This will be needed to assign the collected data to management units.

Forestry Tools will match Plot ID to the plot layer and determine which management unit each plot is located within. Forestry Tools will generate stocking tables (trees per acre by diameter and species), volume tables (volume by species and product class), and associated charts (bar graph of species and diameter). These tables and charts will be saved as CSV or image file in the appropriately defined folder.

Later Features

  • Ability to view and manipulate reports within QGIS.
  • Define custom layouts for reports to be printed.
  • Add custom tree tapers,log rules, and associated calculations.
  • Table/Survey/Form for field data collection.

Additional Resources

  1. Sign up for the mailing list at Forestry Tools Mailing List
  2. Talk:Forestry_Tools
  3. Forestry Tools Github