Forest Projection and Planning System (FPS)

The Forest Biometrics Research Institute (FBRI) was incorporated by James D. Arney, PhD on August 14, 2003, as an IRS 501c3 non-profit, tax-exempt forestry research corporation in the State of Montana. The mission of FBRI is to provide the forestry profession with robust, state-of-the-art quantitative methods and tools for forest inventory, silviculture and long-term planning.

The flagship computer software package provided to all participating organizations is the Forest Projection & Planning System (FPS Version 7.06). This package provides the full range of tools for managing a working forest using a forest stand-based relational database actively linked to a forest-wide GIS mapping system. These tools include cruise compilation, valuation, growth projections and long-term planning under optional silvicultural influences from planting, ingrowth, site preparation, thinning, pruning, fertilization and genetics. The forest planning routines provide options for spatially-constrained harvest scheduling due to wildlife nests, watershed buffers and green-up delays from previously assigned neighboring harvest units. The planning horizon may be up to 35 planning periods of any length and up to six rotations of stand development.

All parameters for tree volume, weight, biomass and carbon content are provided in a separate, stand-alone digital database library. This is identified as the FPS Regional Library database. It contains site capacity, volume, growth and mortality parameters for thirty-six tree species by Region across the North American continent. This Regional Library is based on over 17,800 felled-trees (188,400 measurements) for taper, bark, growth, heartwood and specific gravity. Growth and yield dynamics are based on over 3,610,500 permanent plot tree measurements over a period from 1926 to 2012. There exists no other forestry research database with as diverse a range of regions, species, site capacity and silviculture as accumulated and maintained by FBRI.

This research and development mission was initiated by James D. Arney, PhD in 1971 with development of one of the first computerized growth and yield models in North America. Dr. Arney hosted a west-wide development conference of forest biometricians in 1972 where initial conceptual frameworks were proposed for computerized growth and yield models. Participants in that conference went on to develop most of the forestry models used in the West since then.

The FPS growth and yield model is the fourth computerized forestry model designed and developed by Dr. Arney. It is the only forest model which fully integrates all aspects of forest inventory, growth, silviculture and planning in a single package.

The FBRI and FPS management software have become the reference basis for most forest management organizations in the Western United States. Large acreages being advertised for sale are routinely presented in an FPS database, compiled with standard FPS tree volume and value routines prior to public distribution. The volume and growth parameters in the FPS Regional Libraries are “FBRI-certified” as the best available databases and research analyses in each region. These Regional Libraries are under constant review and evaluation.

The FBRI has provided ongoing 3-day workshops annually since 2002 focusing on forest inventory, forest growth and silviculture and on forest planning. Over 400 professional foresters have been through these workshops between 2002 and 2012.

Forest Inventory:

  • Stand-based inventory database with active GIS linkages
  • Sorted-list systematic stand cruise selection tools
  • Within-stand cruise designs for fixed and variable-radius sampling
  • Cruise designs for sub-sampled attributes such as height, crown, defect, etc.
  • Un-biased methods for sampling stand edges
  • Capacity to compute degree of clumpiness within stands from standard measurements
  • Automated GIS tools for adjusting road and riparian buffer acre reductions
  • Built-in year-end tools for harvest depletion updates and reporting
  • Ability to re-merchandize to any log dimension by species and/or stand
  • Built-in tools to extrapolate sampled stands to un-sampled stands within a stratum
  • Tree volume, biomass and valuation localized within and across species ranges
  • Built-in tools for 3-dimensional tree output by stand of species, size and spatial pattern
  • Built-in reports by log, tree, stand and forest for volume, value, biomass and carbon

Forest Growth:

  • Individual-tree, distant-dependent growth & yield model for all stand structures
  • Ability to grow individual stands or whole forests from one to hundreds of years
  • Incorporated growth and mortality dynamics for natural, planted, and/or thinned stands
  • Growth dynamics sensitive to stand structure and clumpiness for even or all-aged stands
  • Growth dynamics localized across active ranges of individual tree species
  • Automated tools for classifying habitat as affected by topography, climate and soils
  • Built-in tools for measuring and classifying local site productivity
  • Periodic evaluation and verification of all volume, growth and mortality parameters
  • Only growth model calibrated for natural ingrowth of both tree and non-tree species
  • Only growth model designed and calibrated for genetic variation within species Forest

Planning:

  • Individual stand harvest scheduling for up to thirty-five periods of any length (years)
  • Ability to evaluate multiple treatment regimes per stand in a single pass over all stands
  • Built-in capability to optimize the forest goals while seeking the best options per stand
  • Number of stands and number of regimes are only limited by the size of the database
  • Alternative goals may be volume, value, biomass or discounted economics over all years
  • Silvicultural activities may be constrained spatially by proximity to wildlife nest sites
  • Silvicultural activities may be constrained spatially by neighbor green-up regulations
  • Only forest-wide model to solve spatial and non-spatial constraints in one pass
  • Ability to display and interact directly with a GIS database for visual applications
  • Built-in tools to pre-assign harvests, silvicultural treatments and landscape set-asides
  • Ability to evaluate clearcut, seed-tree, shelterwood and/or selection regimes in one pass