USING GIS AND AHP FOR PLANNING PRIMER TRANSPORTATION OF FOREST PRODUCTS
Primer transportation is one of the most costly and time consuming forestry activities in extraction of timber from forest lands. Transportation methods are essentially determined based on terrain characteristics, especially ground slope. Besides, unsuitable machine selection and unplanned operations may cause ecological damages such as soil disturbance. Soil damage can lead to long term impacts on forest ecosystem. Thus, the optimum transportation methods should be determined by considering not only economic factors but also topographical factors and soil conditions. In recent decades, some of the advanced features of Geographical Information System (GIS) assist decision makers to solve such complex transportation problems with various constraints. In this study, it was aimed to plan forest transportation operation by using GIS integrated Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) method, considering ground slope, soil type, and available transportation equipment in the region. This method was implemented within the border of İnegöl Forest Enterprise Chief in the city of Bursa in Turkey. Alternative transportation method included cable system, chute system, skidder, and farm tractor. GIS-based method integrated with AHP found that skidder was the optimal transportation method for about 60% of the study area, while farm tractor was the second most suitable method with 25% ground cover. The results indicated that GIS-based decision support systems can be effectively used as rational, quick, and economic tool for forest transportation planning.