Palmer, G & Vanclay, JK 2009, 'Resource inventory for conversion modelling', in P Dykstra & RA Monserud (eds), Forest growth and timber quality: crown models and simulation methods for sustainable forest management: Proceedings of an International Conference, Portland, OR, 7-10 August, USDA Forest Service, Portland, OR, pp. 145-150.
Foresters routinely estimate the economic potential of a standing forest resource as lumber. It is usual to consider the straightness and size of a tree to estimate gross recovery and the range of lumber products that might be produced. However, such estimates are usually subjective and depend on the knowledge and experience of the assessor. Several conversion modeling packages are available to assist with such appraisals, but these require an established library of log data, or require detailed and expensive log measurements. Fortunately, many tree attributes that influence lumber out-turn can be easily and objectively appraised, and these easy-to-measure attributes can be used to infer a larger suite of log characteristics. This paper briefly describes a computer-based conversion modelling system that emulates components of a woodprocessing system and enables users to create a custom wood-processing facility producing lumber, veneer, or other products. It examines the attributes of trees that need to be quantified for such simulation to proceed, describes how routine timber cruising can record these details, and discusses how a user may modify these attributes to reflect different silvicultural regimes. It also describes the accounting module which enables detailed financial analysis of conversion strategies, and of the whole value chain. The system challenges forest managers to examine silvicultural options in a broader context, focusing not on a “better log”, but on creating more value in the lumber marketplace.