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Forests serve a multitude of purposes and address many different, often conflicting, goals to satisfy the needs of forest owners, forest industry, and society at large. This poses considerable challenges to forest managers. The need for enhanced forest decision support systems (DSSs) is evident in several EU documents related to the future role of European forests. Forest DSSs allow the forest manager to use advanced decision support tools, such as expert and knowledge based systems, multi-criteria techniques as well as communication and visualization tools.

Research objectives

This Action will define a European-wide framework with core processes and information standards for decision making in a sustainable multifunctional forest management environment.

Furthermore, it will define requirements for DSS implementation and provide a consistent European-wide quality reference for the development of decision systems that enhance sustainable forest management.


The project is divided into the following workgroups:

Forest Research involvement

Duncan Ray is leading WG2 and is a member of the COST Action steering committee.

Anna Lawrence is a member of WG4 and Stephen Bathgate is a member of WG1.

Stephen Bathgate has recently completed a Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) for the Cost Action hosted by the Redlands Institute, California, US. The STSM focussed on a review of the Spatial Decision Support Portal, and assessed ways in which the Cost Action might use and extend the portal for the development of DSS tools in the forestry sector.

Funders and partners

This programme is funded by the European Union – EU COST Action FP0804


The Cost Action started in April 2009 until March 2013.


Form further information contact:

Duncan Ray

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Duncan Ray

Senior Forest Ecologist