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Forest managers are interested in what they can grow where and when they can harvest it. They use a decision support system called Ecological Site Classification (ESC) to guide them through the planning process and another system called Forest Gales to understand when the crop will be at risk from storm damage. This process takes account of site and climatic variables to make the best guess of what will and what won’t work, and for how long, in a given location. However it does not provide any information about the likely timber properties that are important for our uses of wood.

Since the development of ESC we have also been able to quantify the effects of location and rotation length on the resulting wood properties and have created a Managing for Timber Quality Decision Support System.

The timber properties decision support system is not available for download, but you can use it freely with any computer system so long as you have an internet connection and you will be able to download the outputs.

If you decide to try it out we’d love to hear what you think, good or bad. Please do keep in mind that it is the best guess based on our experiences, and we cannot guarantee its accuracy. We’re happy to provide GIS layers for advanced users, if this is you please get in touch.

We are working on a Forestry Commission Publication that will provide details of how we put this together.

The Managing for Timber Quality Decision Support System provides information about the timber properties that are likely to be produced depending on location and management, enabling better forest planning and marketing of produce. Currently this only works for Sitka spruce, but our plan is to add more species as we gather the evidence.

Through our current and future projects we will expect to add decision support for:

  • Scots pine
  • Douglas fir
  • Grand, silver and noble fir
  • Norway spruce
  • Western red cedar
  • Western hemlock


Paul McLean

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