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The purpose of forest planning is to show the optimal way to utilize forest resources so that the benefit of the forest owner is maximised. The complexity of the current level of computational technology and methodological knowledge justify the use of quantitative methods that are based on simulation and optimisation. These systems can address the complex management planning problems encountered in multifunctional forestry.
RODAL is an information system that supports decision-making at the stand level. The system is suitable to both even-aged and uneven-aged management, as well as for pure and mixed stands. The system is currently functional in Catalonia, but with the development of new growth models its scope will be widened to cover the whole of Spain.
Forest planning may also consider areas substantially larger than a forest holding, like a province or autonomy. The analyses of these geographical scales are not usually based on compartment data but on a representative sample of plots. In Spain, the plots of the national forest inventory (NFI), measured at 1-km intervals in x and y directions, provide a convenient database for large scale analyses.