Modelling Viability of Biowood Production from Private Woodlands
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In Scotland the demand for biowood has been increasing, however the supply has not managed to keep up with demand, as some landowners have not appreciated the financial value of existing woodlands for the creation of biowood. Currently there are models which can determine whether a woodland is economically viable for the creation of biowood, but these require large scale field surveys and do not take account of spatial factors and as such are not always accurate. To overcome this, this project has created a model to assess the economic viability of using existing private woodlands for the creation of biowood, taking account of both spatial and aspatial factors. The model was implemented using ArcGIS ModelBuilder. To validate the model, Sensitivity Analysis and expert Open Validation were completed. The complexity of factors which affect the economic validity of a woodland has led to large uncertainties being associated with the model, as shown by the Sensitivity Analysis. As such, the values created by the model may vary significantly from the actual values seen in the ‘real world’. The model was praised during Open Validation for taking account of many factors which are not currently accounted for in standard models. The model was also considered very useful for quickly showing, with only a small amount of data supplied by the landowner, the possible financial gain. This would then allow the landowner to decide whether to undertake expensive field work in order to achieve a more accurate income figure. The model is considered a valid stepping stone for future development through optimisation and the addition of supplementary factors important to calculating the economic viability of woodlands.