Basic Idea

Today, in several fields of application virtual models already provide a basis for solving varied problems. New districts can be virtually experienced, digital factories already produce virtual products before first cut of spate, pilots are virtually training risky manoeuvre, physician are virtually planning and practicing complicated operations and forestry machinery operators are virtually training timber harvest technique. The same now goes for the application field “forest and wood”. Applications like forest inventory and forestry planning, planning of fellings, optimization of harvesting and accounting processes, improvements of timber logistic, evaluation of damaging events etc. are expecting a realistic virtual illustration of the real forest.

For this reason the Virtual Forest “feeds the forest into the computer”. Within this project the preconditions for building up a single central database – the Virtual Forest - describing the extensive area of North Rhine-Westphalia are constructed. This database contains a mathematical description of biological (e.g. stocking degree and breast-height diameter) and technical (e.g. road network and property) aspects of the real forest in different detailing (e.g. forest and single-tree consideration) and different precision. All insights of North Rhine-Westphalia’s forest, which have to be stored, expand into this database and all working processes should almost automatically contribute to construction and upkeep of the extensive forest description.


With those aims the Virtual Forest is the pivot of extensive measures to improve the competitiveness of the industrial sector “forest and wood”. Especially regarding the surmounting of structural weakness concerning midget private forests (e.g. North Rhine-Westphalia: 600,000 of 900,000 hectare of forest ownership are privately-owned; from it approx. 400,000 hectare are midget private forest with 0.5 to 1.5 hectare per owner) the Virtual Forest provides the information-technical basis for compensation of shattering of midget private forests and for mobilization of midget forest owners. The Virtual Forest serves as a foundation for abstracts of different economy units, which are from case to case both business and economically profitable, and with it for the management of larger amounts of wood at lower costs.