Forestry Cost Estimator Project

Submitted as part of the Future of Forestry Hackathon

The Future of Forestry 2020

Welcome to The Future of Forestry 2020

This project was created by Eric Berlin, Arlene Guest and Bryan Hooper for the 2020 Future of Forestry Hackathon.

Problem Statement

We selected to address problem statement number one:

How can environmental and geospatial data be used to evaluate potential logging margins to ensure they are commensurate to the financial risk associated with harvesting wood?

In our research, this problem seemed to have a number of challenges related to estimating the value of standing timber and accessing market price for harvested logs. Some rather arbitrary decisions had to be made to adderess these concerns. Our solutions, however, can be easily adapted for different valuation methods or emerging industry standards.

Our Solution

Our solution attempts to address the need for evaluating potential logging sites for risk and potential profit. Currently such valuations rely heavily on local knowledge of the land and weather as well as various constraints such as equipment and personell availabilty. Our project attempts to allow for these variables while also offering useful information basedo on known land and forestry data.

We imagine three distinct, but complementary tools.

Timber Tally

First, is a "field estimator" tool, cleverly named "Timber Tally" which is intended to help ascertain the potential value of a standing tree for a particular harvester. The harvester will have to know most of their operating costs on a MBF basis. However, our estimator will attempt to account for stumpage costs, estimate board feet based on the international 1/4" rule and come up with a valuation based on species and an assumed quality (form class 78).

Tree Mapper

This interactive map provides a tool for analysis, visualization and collaboration for harvesters and their clients. The Tree Mapper uses May Family Farm data as an example - data for each tree includes the size of the tree, the slope that tree is on, the distance to the nearest road and the estimated number of board feet. This data can assist the harvester in estimating the tree's value versus its harves cost, thereby minimizing risk and maximizing potential profit. The map can be annotated and have additional data added to it by the harvester or client, and then shared, so it is a collaborative tool.

Elevation Profiler

Using ArcGIS Online, our Elevation Profiler tool allows a harvester to explore the local terrain anywhere, and show possible routes for skid roads and access to the trees.