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GIS: An Updated Primer on a Powerful Management Tool

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One of the most significant technological developments for forest and natural resource organizations during the past century has been the advent of geographic information systems (GIS). For a variety of reasons, including increased mapping and analytical capabilities, affordability, and accessibility, GIS has become a standard planning and analysis tool for many organizations. This article presents a brief history of the development of GIS and examines some current challenges and opportunities facing GIS use in forest and natural resource management, including those related to data collection and accuracy, data structures, personnel, legal issues, and user certification. Organizations that use GIS should be aware of these challenges and opportunities, and be prepared to address them if GIS implementation is to be successful.

Keywords: environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; geographic information system; inventory and analysis; mapping; natural resource management; natural resources; remote sensing

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor Forest Engineering Department, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331, 2: Associate Professor Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens,

Publication date: June 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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