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ABSTRACT: The principle of “precision forestry” is that it uses modern
tools and technology to get as much real information as it is possible to improve
decision making process and to ensure current goals of forest management.
The best known and most frequently used tools of modern technology are
remote sensing, navigation systems and geographic information systems. New
trends are decision support systems and tools for tree identification and tools
for wood material testing and measurement. There is a large interest of the forestry
sector in these technologies because as the primary source of data “precision
forestry” provides more accurate (realistic) information then currently
used sources. Aim of this article is to clarify and inform the professional, but
also the general public with the precision forestry, its definition and its tools.

Key words: forestry, remote sensing technologies, surveying, decision
support system, Geographic Information System.

At present, demands for wood production along with maintain the quality of the environment (Taylor et al
increasing economical and environmental public demands 2002). It uses set of tools, which have been successfully
from forests require new access to solution as well as new introduced around the whole World and now they have
technologies. Detailed data which is collected, analyzed been used in precision forestry.
and stored is used for successful management. Profitable

Precision forestry is focused on information and
management is the result of right planning, organization

supports economical, environmental and sustainable de-
and control of all forest operations. These claims are reac

cision by using high technology sensing and analyticalhed by implementation of precision forestry.

tools. It provides highly repeatable measurements, ac-

Precision forestry is new direction for better forest tions and processes to initiate, cultivate, and harvest
management. Management principles of precision fore-trees, as well as to protect enhance riparian zone, wilstry
are based on precision agriculture. Precision agri-dlife habitat, and other environmental resources. It pro-
culture is an information-based, decision making vides valuable information and linkages among resource
agricultural system designed to improve the agricultural managers, the environmental community, manufactures
process by precisely managing each step to ensure maxi-and public policy makers (Dyck 2001).
mum agricultural production and continued sustainabi-

Precision forestry is defined by group of researcherlity of the natural resources (Rasher 2001, Martinić

S.E. Taylor, T.P. McDonald, F.W. Corly (2002), as planet
al. 2001). Precision agriculture can be defined as maning
and conducting of site-specific forest management
naging crop inputs, such as fertilizer, herbicide, etc. on a

activities and operations to improve wood product quasite-
specific basis to reduce waste, increase profits, and

lity and utilization, reduce waste, and increase profits

and maintain the quality of the environment. According
1 Petronela Kovácsová, BSc., Department of Forest Management

to Ziesak`s (2006) opinion, Precision Forestry uses

and Geodesy, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in

high technology sensing and analytical tools to support

Zvolen, T.G. Masaryka 25; 960 53 Zvolen, Slovakia

e-mail: site-specific, economic, environmental, and sustainable
2 Mária Antalová, BSc., Department of Forest Exploitation and decision-making for the forestry sector supporting the

Mechanization, Faculty of Forestry, Technical University in

forestry value chain from bare land to the customer

Zvolen, T.G. Masaryka 25, 960 53 Zvolen, Slovakia

e-mail: buying a sheet of paper or board.

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P. Kovácsová, M. Antalová: PRECISION FORESTRY – DEFINITION AND TECHNOLOGIES Šumarski list br. 11–12, CXXXIV (2010), 603-611
2. SCOPE OF RESEARCH – Problematika istraživanja
The most important parts of precision forestry are
new and modern technologies.

Precision technologies are instrumentation, mechanization,
and information technologies that measure, record,
process analyze, manage, or actuate multi-source
data of high spatial or temporal resolution to enable information
based management practice or to support
scientific discovery (Schmoldt, Thomson 2001).

Precision forestry uses variety of tools and techniques,
which can be differently categorised. Ziesak classifies
techniques into seven main activity fields:

Surveying (terrestrial laser scanner, GPS, INS and
digital surveying equipment),

Remote sensing (CIR, Airborn laser scanner),

Contact-free materials testing and measuring computer
tomography (CT), ultrasound, video and laser

Monitoring - radio frequency identification (RFID)
and electronic nose (aroma) technology,

Decision-making and harvest planning,

GIS, DSS and visualisation software,

Computer hardware.
In this article tools are categorized into 5 categories.
2.1. Surveying technologies – Tehnologije izmjere
Currently, photogrammetric measurement methods
with support of terrestrial measurements using total
stations, electronic tachymeter and fieldmaper are dominating
in the forest mapping. However, these methods
do not provide information on all the details
hidden under crops, where there are various complications
caused by considerable segmentation and opacity
of terrain; that’s why geodetic (terrestrial) methods are
used for supporting of photogrammetric measurement

Forest mapping technology GNSS – They are
highly accurate satellite based radio navigation systems
which provide us three dimensional positioning (elevation
of the ground and coordinates x, y) and time information.
This system gathers data position single
objectives (Khali 2001).
GNSS users have now fully available two satellite
systems: NAVSTAR system developed by U.S.A and
the Russian GLONASS system. The third satellite system
GALILEO is the EU project, which aim is to build
a new and an advanced satellite system, which would
contribute to maximum efficiency in measurements of
GNSS. The successful launch and expansion of the GALILEO
system would be more than double the number
of GNSS signals, which will be available to users
(Tuček et al., 2007). Currently, in mapping both systems
are used, which increases the accuracy and availability
of mapping in extreme conditions (GLONASS
system significantly offset the deficiency of American
NAVSTAR satellites, which lead to increase of accuracy
and availability of GNSS technology in extreme
environments such as forest.

The equipment on the GNSS basis, sometimes called
GPS/GIS, is effective in data collection in forested
areas, e.g. also in forest stand description (forest taxation),
in forest detail object location and attribute collection
in forestry thematic mapping (Tuček et al.
2002). These systems are used mainly for navigation on

the ground and under canopy but LIDAR and IFSAR
remote sensing technologies are equipped with GPS for
obtaining accurate coordinate system of flying. At this
time there is an effort to equip the new forest (wheeled
skidder, track skidder) and agriculture technologies
with GPS because of its navigation and monitoring abilities.
GPS builds connections among map, image or digital
database and real, physical location on the Earth
surface. A possibility of usage of such equipment for
tracing and navigation (from the map, plan or image to
real conditions) is it’s another important attribute
(Tuček, Suchomel 2003).

Inertial navigation system – Inertial navigation
system uses gyros, which is able to maintain on long-
term indication of the specified direction. Measurement
is based on the spread of the laser pulse in very long
convoluted coils into fibreglass. With the progress of
the motion sensor there are also emerging inertial navigation
systems operating on different principles. These
systems consist of sets capable of very sensitive accelerometers
measurement changes in the direction of motion
sensor. This sensor works in conjunction with a
computer that continuously integrates the input signal
of the accelerometers and determines the current location
of the observed object. Inertial navigation is able to
measure even in densely forested terrain, where other
navigation may not work (Rapant 2002, Martinić
et al. 2001).
Terrestrial Laser scanner – Terrestrial laser scanning
systems allows obtaining a large amount of data
fast, called a point cloud. Point Cloud is a set of x, y, z
coordinates and sometimes number of intensity, which
after processing provides a 3D model of objects and terrain.
Current researches are focused on forest inventory
automation, for the derivation of forest stand and tree
characteristics (height, diameter, round base, number of
stem) and identification of the tree based on bark.

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Laser Rangefinder Instrument –
The laser rangefinger is used for detecting
distances and gradients between the instrument
and an object. Principle of the laser
rangefinder is based on laser beam, which
is sent towards the object and measures the
flight time of laser pulse reflected off the
target. This tool is often combined with
other device for example Fieldmap or
video rangefinger instrument.
Figure 1 Laser Rangefinder Instrument.

Slika 1. Laserski daljinomjer.


2.2. Airborne and satellite remote sensing technology as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)
and IFSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) –
Tehnologije zračnog i satelitskog daljinskog istraživanja kao LIDAR I IFSAR

These technologies have significant advantages because
they are capable of collecting highly detailed
data quickly from a large area with varying conditions
at repeated time intervals. LIDAR offers us many different
data products such as digital elevation model grid,
contours, raw point data and intensity image. From
data of IFSAR we are able to obtain almost similar products
like from LIDAR however Orthorectified Radar
Imagery (ORRI) is very significant data product of
IFSAR. These products are used in Hydrology Modelling,
Flood Risk Assessment, Land Use and Land
Cover Mapping, Earth Crust Deformation Monitoring,
Riparian Studies and Forestry Mapping.

Mainly, LIDAR has an important role in precision
forestry because of its accuracy and other advantages.

Nowadays, it is one of the most used and researched
new technologies in the world by which we have reached
valuable and useful information related to Forestry
Management and other branches as Shoreline and Beach
Volume Changes, Flood Risk Analysis, Water-Flow Issues,
Habitat Mapping, Subsidence Issues, Riparian Studies,
Emergency Response, Transportation Mapping,
Telecommunication Planning and Urban Development.

Other airborne and satellite remote sensing technologies
enable us to acquire data from high spatial resolution
images, multi-spectral and hyperspectral images.
In general, the remote sensing technologies are fast, accurate
and cost-effective sources of data.

2.3. Real-time process control scanners – Procesni skeneri kontrole drva u realnom vremenu
Tools of precision forestry which were previously
mentioned provide information in real-time. They have
hardware and software devices which can be used either
directly in the forestry fieldwork (combination by
GPS) or in the wood processing industry (sawmill).
This group can be divided into tools for tree identification
(RFID and Aroma tagging) and tools for wood material
testing and measurement (UDD, CT).

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) – it is focused
on identifying trees and timber via wireless
means and on sensing properties of the tree/timber during
the identification process. RFID is a tag on tree
that can gather a wide variety of information about
trees and wood in-situ and real-time (Wilson et al.

(Ultrasound decay detectors) – it is used to
detect decay in trees. It measures ultrasound signal
time of flight from the transmitter to the receiver across
the diameter of a tree (Leininger etal. 2001).

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Figure 2 Wood material testing and measurement.

Slika 2. Ispitivanje i mjerenje drvnog materijala.

(Source/Izvor: Wilson et al. 2001)

CT (Computed tomography) Automated Log
Grading System – Computed tomography uses x-rays
to produce high-resolution cross-sectional images of
the internal structure of log (Rayner et al. 2001). The
result is a defect map from the computed tomography
FieldMap – World-wide, Fieldmap is very useful
tool for forest inventorying, which computes field data
collected during fieldworks. This device consists of hardware
set like Electronic compass, optical scope, laser
Figure 4 An automated log grading system.

Slika 4. Automatizirani sustav ocjenjivanja stanja debla/trupca.

(Source/Izvor: Rayner et al. 2002)

rangefinger, field computer, GPS, inclinometers and
software divided into two main parts FM Project Manager
and FM Data Collector. For data analysis there is
used FM Inventory Analyst and FM Stem Analyst.
FieldMap is used for forest structure mapping, long-

Figure 3 Using ultrasound to detect defects in trees.

Slika 3. Otkrivanje grešaka u stablu pomoću ultrazvuka.

(Source/Izvor: Leininger et al. 2001)

term monitoring, descrtiption of forest stand, dendrometry
measurements (tree height, crown projection and
profile, stem profile, estimation of volume of timber),
assessment biomass and growth stocks.

Figure 5 Source:

Slika 5. Izvor:

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2.4. GIS (Geographic Information System) – Geografski informacijski sustav
GIS is a spatial information system that comprises
out of four basic elements; hardware, software, data and
user. By capturing, storing, checking, manipulating and
analyzing the terrain information related to spatial and
geographic distribution it can export all kinds of data
and graphs, and provide a series of helpful documents
and plans for the decision maker (L i et al. 2000).

This system can accommodate large amounts of
data. GIS operates with variety of data types such as
maps, images, digital products, GPS, text data and tabular
data, all of which can be received from multiple
sources. There is possibility to create large databases
from gaining and measuring data which are joined with
vector and raster formats. These outputs provide us

specific images and maps such as Digital Elevation
Models (DEMs), Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), Topographic
Line Maps (TLMs), Contours, Shaded Relief,
Slope & Aspect and Thematic Maps. The outputs
are results of respective analyzes, such as Image analysis,
Distance analysis, Spatial analysis, Geostatisticals
analysis, Surface analysis, ect.

Related to other tools, GIS as software is very significant.
This software can be integrated into handheld
computers used for fieldwork and obtains information
directly from outside. GIS has one important advantage

– it is possible to create networks of GIS, which allows
quick access to data and information.
2.5. DSS (Decision support systems) – Sustavi za potporu odlučivanju
They are specific software solutions, which have
been developed for solving specific problems and offer
forecast and factually information. Advantage of decision
support systems is that it can be joined with GIS
by which we can improve results. At present, there
have been some decision support systems which dealt
with predicting road networks, forest operation planning,
forest inventory and others types of solutions. All
of them are based on algorithms by which the solution
and forecast is reached, and subsequently visualized.

In Slovakia at the Technical University in Zvolen
there were OHTS (optimal harvesting and logging technology
selection) model created, which were used for
selection of optimal timber harvesting and logging machinery
and technology; also FFRA model (Forest Fire
Risk Assessment) is used for fire risk analysis which is
significant part of the fire warning system. These DDSs
were developed in NetWeaver environment and EMDS
(Ecosystem Management Decision Support) environment
and subsequently linked up with GIS.

OHTS model is based on the assessment of ecological
criteria like the terrain accessibility, the skidding
distance, the erosion caused by logging, the cutting
method, the soil capacity, the forest stand structure, the
trucks loading places and on the assessment of economical
and ergonomic criteria. The results of model assessment
(digital or printed maps representing the
appropriateness of each machinery/technology used on
each forest stand), using the OHTS model, can be used
by forest planners, mainly for operational and tactical
planning of timber harvesting and logging activities in
the forest (Tuček and Majlingová 2010, Suchomel
and Balenová 2009).
FFRA (Forest Fire Risk Assessment) model is
based on existing methodology, which can be implemented
to Decision support software. Methodology is
based on two types of analyzes. In the first type, the forest
fire risk is described by means of probability, the
assumed disturbance of the forest (based on its species
composition) in the age (t) during a common year. In
the second type of analyzes, the influence of relevant
geographic factors (elevation, slope, aspect, the nearest
road distance, the nearest settlement and urbanized
area distance) is tested against the fire occurrence. To
use it, you have to acquire the data about burned out forest
areas by processing records about fires in forest
stands of the analyzed area in order to calculate the probabilities
reporting the assumed disturbance of the forest.
The results can be implemented also to forest
management planning as a measure for reducing the
vulnerability of the forest in the future. (Tuček and
Majlingová 2010).

Among decision support systems file growth simulator
software can be stipulated, which is implemented
in forestry and ecology. In Slovakia there has been developed
a growth simulator with entitled SYBILA
which provides the advantage of an individual tree modelling
approach. The model is able to predict forest
development under the consideration of a wide range
of input parameters. The growth simulator has already
been successfully applied for the simulation of the impact
of climate change and differently type of forest calamity
on the development of Slovak forests (Fabrika
et al. 2008). This model can be implemented into current
forestry practice as a tool for decision support.
Also, other European countries have some famous
growth simulator software such as SILVA, MOSES,
CORKFITS. These software solutions are very accurate
and they have been constantly improved.

Precision forestry and all its tools provide many
advantages to foresters, forest owners and wood processing
industries and others.

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Modern information technologies allow quick and
direct communication among single forest operations.
This allows reducing costs and increasing yield for forest
enterprise and wood processing industry.

There are some disadvantages and problems with
tools of precision forestry. One of them is that tools of
precision forestry are not standard in all forest enterprises.
Individual tools of precision forestry must be necessary
combined in order to obtain more precise
information, not only quantitative but also the qualitative
aspects of the forest resource. The most common
combination of tools are GIS, GPS and remote sensing
technologies, which offer adequate resources of gaining
precision data and additional accuracy of information
used for decision. The other tools have narrow
range of utilization and they are focused on specific
field of forestry management. The next disadvantage is
the price of some required data types which are significantly
influenced by cost of tools operations and their
accessibility. Tools of precision forestry are demanding
mainly on hardware and some of them also software.
Because of high demands on hardware, the acquisition
costs are increased and tools are not reachable to all forest
enterprise at the present.

All recorded data from tools is processed by suitable
software and additionally necessary information is

gained. Information has been recognized as being of similar
importance as the basic production factors in producing
enterprises. It plays an important role in
planning, implementation and controlling production
processes while supporting the management by providing
relevant data on how to dispose of all relevant production
factors (Kätsch 2006). There are some issues
of information quality, mainly problems with poor accuracy,
low precision, incompleteness and missing relevancy,
all of which can be removed by combination
and further development of tools of precision forestry.
Obtained information from treated data can be used by
all forest operations, wood processing industry and environmental
protection professionals.

Information for forest operations is used by selecting
the suitable stand, harvesting operation, forwarding,
storage and transport wood. Knowledge of information
significantly influences planning, organization, control
and duration of forestry works.
For wood processing industry there is important information
about wood as dimension, grade, grain,
blight disease, stiffness and taper. This information influences
production wood products thereby profitability
wood industry.
For environmental protection there is important information
mainly about soil as erodibility, disturbance,
Figure 6 Diagram of Precision forestry.

Slika 6. Dijagram “preciznog šumarstva”.

(Source/Izvor: Kovácsová, P. 2009)

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Geografski informacijski sustav (GIS);
Sustav podrške pri odlučivanju koji je spojiv sa GIS-om.
U Slovačkoj, na Tehničkom Sveučilištu u Zvolenu razvijeni su softverski
sustavi podrške kod odlučivanja pod sljedećim nazivima:
OTHS (Optimal harvesting and logging technology selection) – program
za odabir optimalne tehnologije kod sječe i privlačenja/izvoženja) sortimenata;
FFRA (Forest Fire Risk Assessment) – program za procjenu rizika od nastanka
SYBILA – softver za simulaciju rasta drveta koji se primjenjuju u šumarstvu
i ekologiji.
Usprkos raznovrsnim definicijama pojedinih autora, koncept “preciznog
šumarstva”, prikazan u obliku dijagrama na slici 6., podrazumijeva planiranje
i provođenje aktivnosti vezanih za različita stajališta gospodarenja šumom te
operacije za poboljšanje kvalitete finalnih proizvoda od drva, iskorištenje drvnih
resursa, smanjenje otpada, povećanje dobit i održavanje kvalitete okoliša.

Predviđanja su da će integracija “preciznog šumarstva” u bliskoj budućnosti
u slovačkom šumarstvu voditi itekako važnu ulogu, posebice radi omogućavanja
brze i izravne komunikacije između pojedinih šumarskih operatera
s ciljem dobivanja pravovremenih i korisnih informacija za donošenje ključnih
odluka. Posljedično, to će omogućiti smanjenje troškova i povećanje prihoda
i profita i za šumarska poduzeća i za drvnu industriju.

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compaction of soil and water supply as sedimentation,
ditchwater. New information and knowledge have significant
function in protecting rare ecosystem, parts of
county as aquatic and wildlife habitats.

After perusing certain number of scientific material
from conferences about precision forestry there was an
explanatory diagram made showing the processes of
precision forestry.

3. CONCLUSION – Zaključak
The term Precision Forestry is very debatable
among researchers and variable definitions of Precision
forestry depend on individual interpretation and understanding.
The specific definition of the term precision
forestry does not exist, while individual experts explain
this term differently, but the principle of term remains
essentially the same. In our opinion, the concept of
“precision forestry” is that the use of modern tools and
techniques to get as much real information as it is possible
to improve decision making process and to ensure
that current targets of forest management are met.

Precision forestry tools will help to make future
operation more economically viable and to satisfy public
and environment demands. This is important for
sustainable management of forest and renewable resources.
By idea of precision forestry we are able to
improve productivity of forest, long-term planning,
global and crop inventory, planning of road network
(hauling road, skid trail), sustainable utilization of renewable
resources and reducing negative environmental

Integration of precision forestry into Slovak forest
management will have important meaning in the future.
Quick progress of precision forestry aims to make
technologies and accurate data accessible both to forest
enterprise and to public. Additionally, every deficiency
of forest management can be reduced or completely removed.
This new direction of “Precision forestry” will
bring modernization into not only Slovak silviculture.

In Technical University in Zvolen in Slovakia there
were created Decision support system for Forest Fire
Risk Assessment and for Optimal Harvesting Technology
Selection (used EMDS) and Growth simulator

This work was supported by the Scientific Grand
Agency of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak republic
and the Academy of Sciences under the contract
No. VEGA 1/0764/10 and by the Agency of Education
for EU Structural Funds of the Ministry Education of
the Slovak republic.

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Tuček, J., Majlingová, A. (2010). The objectives
and application of selected DSS tools in forest

SAŽETAK: Članak upoznaje znanstvenu i stručnu javnost s osnovnim informacijama
vezanima za pojam “precizno šumarstvo”. Ovaj termin obuhvaća
novi koncept šumarskog djelovanja koji se oslanja na moderne alate i
tehnologije, s ciljem dobivanja što veće količine pravodobnih i korektnih informacija
nužnih za sustav podrške pri odlučivanju. “Precizno šumarstvo”
jednako je vezano uz zadovoljavanje aktualnih ciljeva gospodarenja šumama
s ekonomskog, socijalnog i ekološkog stajališta, ali i s drvno-tehnološkog gledišta
šireg šumarskog sektora. Od modernih tehnologija danas su u europskom
šumarstvu najzastupljenije one vezane uz daljinska istraživanja i
geografski informacijski sustav (GIS). U novije se vrijeme u mnogim područjima
šumarske znanosti i prakse koriste različiti navigacijski sustavi. Novi
globalni trend koji se sve više primjenjuje u poljoprivredi, odnosi se na sustav
podrške pri odlučivanju – tzv. “Decision support system (DSS)”. Pojedine
tehnologije navedenog sustava već su našle praktičnu primjenu u šumarstvu.
Takvi su npr. alati za identifikaciju pogrešaka na sortimentima te instrumenti
za testiranje i mjerenje drvnog materijala. Zbog svoje praktičnosti i pravovremenih
informacija, postoji velik interes za primjenom tehnologija “preciznog
šumarstva” u mnogim područjima operativnoga šumarstva.

Precizno šumarstvo koristi razne tehnike i alate koji se različito klasificiraju.
U ovom radu klasifikacija je napravljena u 5 kategorija:

Geodetske tehnologije (GNSS - globalni navigacijski satelitski sustavi)
koje uključuju tehnologije za kartiranje šuma, inercijske navigacijske sustave,
zemaljske laserske skenere i laserski daljinomjere, od kojih je jedan model
pri kazan na slici 1.);
Avionske i satelitske tehnologije daljinskih istraživanja kao LIDAR (Light
Detection and Ranging) i IFSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar);
U realnom vremenu procesni skener za kontrolu drva (identifikacija
radio frekvencijom na slici 2., ultrazvučni detektori propadanja drva na slici
3., kompjuterizirana tomografija na slici 4.);