High Quality Forest Mapping, Now, More Important Than Ever

Technological improvements and increased availability of ortho-photography has lowered the cost of mapping forests. At the same time, the benefits from good forest mapping are increasing.

In Issue 3 of Wood Matters we highlighted the importance of good mapping for lowering the cost and improving the quality of pruning and thinning operations.

The other important areas for which good forest mapping provides benefits are:

  • Checking for over-legal-boundary (OLB) issues.
  • More accurate and lower cost timber inventory measurement.
  • Better harvest planning leading to higher returns for harvesting.
  • Essential for forests managed under Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
  • Good forest mapping will enhance the sale-ability of the forest or any stumpage sales from the forest.


The latest new business area requiring good forest mapping is the Emissions Trading Scheme:

  1. The application for pre-1990 forest and land allocation units will require at least a rudimentary level of forest mapping, and will require that stand boundaries and stand attributes are accurately identified.
  2. Good forest mapping will be essential in maximising the value of New Zealand Units (NZUs) claimed from post-1989 forests (whilst minimising measurement costs). This process involves carefully defining Carbon Accounting Areas that recognise the impact of harvesting on NZU liabilities and allow accounting for changes in carbon stocks.


If you have a forest or woodlot that doesn't have good mapping, it would be well worth making the investment in getting it mapped now.

PF Olsen has invested in a GIS-mapping system that can produce high-quality topographic[1] forest maps. A recent system innovation creates a dynamic link between stand map records (spatial records) and stand attribute records (text records). This means that the two data sets are always harmonised and cannot became out of step. Our mapping and record system can also easily be kept up to date with forest operations such as pruning, thinning, measurement and harvesting. PF Olsen clients automatically get the benefit of this state of the art mapping and forest record system, usually only available to large forest estates.

If you would like to find out how good forest mapping could improve your forest management, please contact your local PF Olsen representative, or FREEPHONE 0508 PF Olsen (0508 736 5736), or e-mail our friendly Land Information Manager, Richard Quinlan on richard.quinlan@pfolsen.com.

[1]Topographic maps show vertical land forms (e.g. hills and gullies) in the form of contours. This is important information for planning most forestry operations.