A GIS-based database management application for agroforestry planning and tree selection

E. A. Ellis, P. K.R. Nair, P. E. Linehan, H. W. Beck, C. A. Blanche

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Agroforestry (the deliberate growing of trees or shrubs in rural lands) is being promoted in the United States as an alternative resource management system that can bring landowners economic benefits and provide environmental services such as reduced soil erosion, improved water quality and wildlife habitat. Landowners, farmers and extension agents need to be better informed about different agroforestry opportunities and potential tree species. The Florida Agroforestry Decision Support System (FADSS) was designed to aid in the dissemination of such information. FADSS utilizes a geographical information system (GIS) enabling the user to select a location of interest which is linked to spatial data on climate and soils characteristics for the state of Florida. The application also incorporates a database of over 500 trees and 50 tree attributes, forming a relational database. The application structure consists primarily of building database queries using Standard Query Language (SQL). SQL queries are constructed during run-time based on spatial parameters of a selected location, the type of agroforestry system desired, and production and management criteria provided by the user. Experts were interviewed to help develop queries used to select trees and other agroforestry species. Being a prototype, the application is built with a modular and flexible framework in which spatial data of different scales and/or regions as well as plant data may be easily incorporated. Among the major limitations encountered during the development of FADSS with major implications on future agroforestry decision support systems was the current lack of tree information relevant to agroforestry and the lack of research involving the assessment of suitable trees and their characteristics. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-55
Number of pages15
JournalComputers and Electronics in Agriculture
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 2000
EventThe Scientific Conference on 'The Application of Scientific Knowledge to Decisionmaking in Managing Forest Ecosystems' - Asheville, NC, USA
Duration: May 3 1999May 7 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Horticulture


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