[Table of Contents]

[Better Tools for
Forest Management




In 1998, CIFOR made significant advances in its efforts to develop the Forest Land Oriented Resource Envisioning System, or FLORES, a simulation model to aid decision making for forest management. Key partners in the project are the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the University of Edinburgh.

Once fully developed, FLORES should operate much like the popular computer video game SimCity, in which users choose from numerous options in infrastructure, landscape features and other areas to "design" a complex urban city. But FLORES will go beyond the entertainment nature of that model. It will enable policy makers and forest managers to make "what if" decisions about real-life forests and land use, and aid quantitative analyses of policy options related to this.

The refinement of FLORES will take a number of years. But in 1998, CIFOR and its partners in the project demonstrated the technical feasibility of this exciting new tool by constructing a simple prototype with the Agroforestry Modelling Environment (AME) being developed in Edinburgh, Scotland. By the year’s end, several dozen forestry specialists and computer experts were poised to develop the first version of FLORES early in 1999 at a workshop in Sumatra, Indonesia.