Visual Forester Professional (VFP) is a first-generation long-term forest management simulator that combines advanced silviculture and wildlife modeling with powerful data analytics and stunning stand visualizations.
VFP provides professional foresters, students, landowners, regulators, and researchers with a powerful new tool to understand and communicate silvicultural decision-making and their outcomes. Alpine Land Information Services draws on nearly 30 years of experience in long term forest planning, forest inventory, habitat analysis, and long-term carbon analysis to make this simulator possible.
Our ambition is to use immersive visualization to talk about forestry as if you were taking a walk in the woods. However, by combining visualization with detailed inventory data, flexible growth models, limitless prescription options, and planning horizons from 5 to 100+ years, we can show things that would take multiple lifetimes in person. This opens the door to new levels of comprehension and to conversations which have never been had before.
Alpine has a long history in California forestry, and we recognize that one of VFP’s greatest potentials is as a teaching and communication tool. Therefore, we plan to introduce Visual Forester Professional with software tailored for university students in California. From there, we plan to expand VFP to add value for many additional users and regions.
With Visual Forester Professional (VFP), we are providing a tool which gives users the ability to move beyond tables, graphs, and maps. We are allowing people to comprehend forest data the way we were meant to: peering curiously into the trees.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a VFP forest is worth at least a few hundred tables (we can prove it!). Simulation and visualization are extremely powerful tools, which is why they have been adopted to some extent by every major industry. Some industries have gone to incredible heights; consider the effort the U.S. Airforce has put into simulators which train pilots, or the work-hours the construction industry has spent on visualization of future projects. Simulation demonstrates concepts which you can’t see in person and provides training which would be infeasible in reality. Simulation is essential to forestry because a forest takes a lifetime or more to grow. Visualization makes sense of complex data and brings people to mutual understanding. Visualization is essential to forestry because our big decisions aren’t made while standing in the woods.
Visual Forester Professional is an all-inclusive package for simulation and visualization in forestry. VFP has the potential to “train the eye” for students, offers an environment to learn and experiment for newly hired employees, and provides a platform for long-time professionals to demonstrate and display the expected results of a project. We know that the future of forestry is with our students, which is why Alpine plans to introduce VFP at the university level. From there, we are excited to see where the technology of Visual Forester Professional will lead.