NED-2: An agent-based decision support system for forest ecosystem management

Donald Nute, Walter D. Potter, Frederick Maier, Jin Wang, Mark Twery, H. Michael Rauscher, Peter Knopp, Scott Thomasma, Mayukh Dass, Hajime Uchiyama, Astrid Glende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Decision making for forest ecosystem management can include the use of a wide variety of modeling tools. These tools include vegetation growth models, wildlife models, silvicultural models, GIS, and visualization tools. NED-2 is a robust, intelligent, goal-driven decision support system that integrates tools in each of these categories. NED-2 uses a blackboard architecture and a set of semi-autonomous agents to manage these tools for the user. The blackboard integrates a Microsoft Access database and Prolog clauses, and the agents are implemented in Prolog. A graphical user interface written in Visual C++ provides powerful inventory analysis tools, dialogs for selecting timber, water, ecological, wildlife, and visual goals, and dialogs for defining treatments and building prescriptive management plans. Users can simulate management plans and perform goal analysis on different views of the management unit, where a view is determined by a management plan and a point in time. Prolog agents use growth and yield models to simulate management plans, perform goal analyses on user-specified views of the management unit, display results of plan simulation using GIS tools, and generate hypertext documents containing the results of such analysis. Individual agents use metaknowledge to set up and run external simulation models, to load rule-based models and perform inference, to set up and execute external GIS and visualization systems, and to generate hypertext reports as needed, relieving the user from performing all these tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)831-843
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Blackboard architecture
  • Decision support system
  • Ecosystem management
  • Knowledge based system
  • Model management
  • Prolog


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