New England Forestry Consultants, Inc.
|Volume 6, No. 2
NEFCO'S ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY
Over the years, NEFCo has developed and invested in various technologies that have allowed the foresters to provide state of the art services to our clients. Unfortunately, we have not informed all landowners of these advanced services. Well, now is the time to inform you of a revolutionary forest management system known as The ForestPro - Landbase System (FPL).
The FPL is the brainchild of Peter Farrell and was developed by Peter using database software. Essentially, the technology incorporates all the information of a traditional written forest management plan into a database format. The details on how this process works would take more space than is available in this newsletter; however, the potential uses of the final product are worth learning about.
In the Winter 2003-04 edition of the NEFCo newsletter, an article titled "The Forest Management Plan: What is it and Do You Need One," described the contents of a forest management plan. The FPL system is a management plan and significantly more. The FPL system contains the basic management plan information such as a description of the different stands, the stands' volumes, soils information, and recommendations; however, it is integrated in a format to allow for more in-depth analysis and planning. Below is a list of some of the features and advantages of the FPL system. While reviewing these special features, keep in mind that all of this information is from a single database and is accessible with a couple of simple keystrokes at your computer.
1. Growth Analysis - Using growth rates collected in the field, the FPL system can track up-to-the minute volume estimates. For example, it is possible for the landowner to estimate the volume of timber in a particular stand at a specific time in the future. This application allows for extensive and long-term planning.
2. Up-To-Date Information - All information within the system is contained within a single database. As various timber harvesting operations are completed, the results are input to provide up-to-date and cohesive information.
3. Schedule of Activities - Using the traditional written forest management plan, the forester must read over and familiarize him/herself with the plan every year to determine which activities are scheduled. With the FPL system, the forester/landowner can simply request a scheduled activity report with a keystroke and, in a matter of seconds, have a report describing what activities are to be done, where they are to be completed, and a projected budget.
4. Sustained Yield Management - Using the FPL system, the forester/landowner can easily determine the amount of timber to be cut on a regular basis to allow for a sustainable yield. Additionally, with the systems' up-dating ability, the sustained yield calculation can be easily adjusted in accordance with the current status of the property.
5. Map Images - A unique feature of the FPL system is the ability to see map images of the property. An easy to use selection button allows the user to immediately pull up any maps associated with the property, including: the cover type map, a soils map, an aerial photo, a tax map, etc. This is all available with the touch of a button while using the FPL system.
6. Historical/Non-Database Documents - Tied in with the use of the FPL system is the ability to view historical and non-database documents. For example, the user is able to view the deed to the property as well as word documents and correspondences.
7. Green Certification Reporting - The FPL system meets all the requirements for the mandatory reporting process of the various green certification programs and is significantly faster than if the information were to be gathered from numerous sources.
8. Wildlife Habitat Management - The FPL system incorporates concepts promoted in the publication, New England Wildlife: Management of Forested Habitats (Degraff, Leak, Lanier, and Yamasaki). The central theme of the publication is a recommendation to the type and amount of habitat in a given area, in order to determine the wildlife species that are likely to occur and the steps needed to alter or maintain the habitat to meet certain wildlife objectives. The FPL system produces this helpful and important habitat information.
9. Multiple Parcel Integration - One of the more innovative capabilities of the FPL system is its ability to blend the information of multiple parcels into one integrated database. This ability allows for coordinated management on an ownership basis rather than on a parcel basis. For landowners who own more than one parcel, the FPL system allows them to manage their land holdings as a whole and not as individual parcels, which is very advantageous for the long-term planning of the landowner.
10. Multiple Forester Integration - If a NEFCo client owns multiple parcels, it is not unusual for different NEFCo foresters to be responsible for the management of these parcels. The FPL system places the ownership information in a consolidated single database and allows NEFCo/Landowner to manage parcels in a coordinated manner.
In addition to the FPL system, NEFCo has recently installed a Citrix server. Using the server and the FPL system, we are now able to offer the FPL system for individual client applications. As a result of the combined features of these technologies, any of our clients can have their land and forest management information delivered to them, or their designated manager, through a private secure, Internet based connection with the NEFCo
server. Landowners will be able to log on at any time to view their forest management information through the FPL system.
As stated in previous newsletters, landowner goals and needs are becoming more complex needs, NEFCo has taken its service and technology to a higher level. While it is advantageous for a small single parcel landowner to use the FPL system, ownership classes such as the following gain significant financial and managerial benefits:
Properties enrolled in "green certification programs", which require a high degree of record keeping and are subject to periodic audits.
Investment and institutional ownerships in which the owner's general managers want or need real time access to the same information that their forest managers have.
Non-contiguous, multiple property ownership where two or more foresters are responsible for different portions of the asset.
Clients with anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of acres that need planning services which include regular inventory assessments, production continuity, sustainable harvest budgets, model habitat management, and special areas protection.
Clients whose goals encompass a multi-decade or multi-generational timeline and require the highest standards of sustainable resource management.
The FPL system is a new and exciting way for a landowner to manage his or her forest asset. Landowners may closely monitor their important investment. With the FPL system and the NEFCo server, clients are able to directly access their forest asset information, and have the ability to easily update information, produce reports, schedules or projections, and consolidate information with a touch of a button.
Landowners expect their managers to provide information services in depth and in detail - and at a speed to commensurate with the Internet age. With the development of the FPL system and the NEFCo server, we are in a position to do just that. NEFCo has come a long way in developing and implementing innovative technologies to better serve our clients. Rest assured we will continue to be diligent in our analysis of our clients' needs, and we are committed to providing our clients with innovative and cost effective solutions to meet their land management objectives.
For more information concerning the FPL system, please contact your nearest NEFCo forester.