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Digital Mapping Alternatives: GIS for the Busy Forester

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Geographic Information System (GIS) technology is rapidly becoming one of the most useful and widespread tools in our profession. As capability of these systems increase, so does their complexity. While full-featured GIS systems require a substantial time investment for learning and keeping current, various low-cost and easy-to-use alternatives are now available. These systems offer forestry professionals an opportunity to take advantage of the capabilities that geospatial technologies can offer. This article reviews some of these “small-scale” GIS systems and presents recommendations for several types of forestry applications.

Keywords: GIS; consulting firms; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry applications; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Graduate Student and Master's Candidate Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA 24061, Email: 2: Associate Professor Virginia Tech Blacksburg VA 24061, Email:

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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