GIS-based decision support systems to minimise soil impacts in logging operations

Sammanfattning: Mechanised logging operations can leave negative impacts, like ruts, on forest soils. To avoid this, forestry planners and machine operators need decision support systems that can estimate soil trafficability and help to minimise soil impacts. The main objective of this thesis was to evaluate whether or how different data, stored in a geographic information system (GIS), can contribute to improved estimation of soil trafficability. Requirements for implementation of soil trafficability maps in forestry GIS applications were also described. A soil trafficability map, based on several GIS data using multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), was proposed in Paper I. Availability and implementation of soil trafficability maps, mainly depth-to-water (DTW) maps, in some European countries, was reviewed in Paper II. Effect of DTW map resolutions to predict soil moisture was evaluated in Paper IV, and the study showed that a spatial resolution of 1–2 m was sufficient. Risk for rutting was analysed in relation to field-measured and GIS data in Papers III, V and VI. GIS data included digital elevation models, DTW maps, hydrological data, soil type, and clay content maps. The results showed that planning forwarder trails and evaluating different alternatives can be improved by using a soil trafficability map. GIS data of high quality is required to achieve acceptable results. Easy or free access to soil trafficability maps facilitate their application in forestry operations. DTW maps, together with other data, can be used to estimate risk for rutting. Clay content maps and hydrological data, at current resolution, need further development but showed potential to predict risk for rutting. More studies are required to estimate temporal and spatial variability of soil trafficability maps. In conclusion, GIS-based decision support systems should be used for planning of logging operations to minimise risk for rutting.

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