The role of knowledge management tools in supporting sustainable forest management

  • H. Vacik University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Department of Forest- and Soil Sciences, Institute of Silviculture
  • C. Torresan University of Tuscia, Department for innovation in biological, agro-food and forest systems, Agricultural Research Council, Trento.
  • T. Hujala Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla, Vantaa.
  • C. Khadka University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
  • K. Reynolds Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis.


Aim of study: Knowledge Management (KM) tools facilitate the implementation of knowledge processes by identifying, creating, structuring, and sharing knowledge through use of information technology in order to improve decision-making. In this contribution, we review the way in which KM tools and techniques are used in forest management, and categorize a selected set of them according to their contribution to support decision makers in the phases of problem identification, problem modelling, and problem solving.

Material and Methods: Existing examples of cognitive mapping tools, web portals, workflow systems, best practices, and expert systems as well as intelligent agents are screened for their applicability and use in the context of decision support for sustainable forest management. Evidence from scientific literature and case studies is utilized to evaluate the contribution of the different KM tools to support problem identification, problem modelling, and problem solving.

Main results: Intelligent agents, expert systems and cognitive maps support all phases of the forest planning process strongly. Web based tools have good potential to support participatory forest planning. Based on the needs of forest management decision support and the thus-far underutilized capabilities of KM tools it becomes evident that future decision analysis will have to consider the use of KM more intensively. 

Research highlights: As the problem-solving process is the vehicle for connecting both knowledge and decision making performance, the next generation of DSS will need to better encapsulate practices that enhance and promote knowledge management. Web based tools will substitute desktop applications by utilizing various model libraries on the internet.

Keywords: best practices; cognitive mapping; expert systems; intelligent agents; web portals; workflow systems; Decision Support Systems.



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How to Cite
Vacik, H., Torresan, C., Hujala, T., Khadka, C., & Reynolds, K. (2013). The role of knowledge management tools in supporting sustainable forest management. Forest Systems, 22(3), 442-455.
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