Mike Freestone attended a Toolbox workshop presented by Andy Warner

What a spectacular piece of software!

I had a career as a mainframe software developer and subsequently as an I.T. Project Manager providing corporate software solutions. My last project before retiring in 1999 was to replace the financial systems for Sydney Water Corporation. So I feel that I have a relevant background from which to make some comments.

No software solution just happens. I think the Toolbox developers are unique and deserve immense credit for what is being made available to us. To create such a software solution you need to be a domain expert, (obviously they are competent foresters), and you have to have vision, drive and immense patience and persistence.

It's rare that you get these attributes in two people. At the corporate level, we form teams to ensure we have the attributes covered. Andy and Adrian have had to be all things to all people.

Andy is a gifted communicator. He covered a huge amount of material yesterday and managed to get each participant to exercise features of the software. He was adept at deftly handling our questions without losing momentum. What a stellar performance. I wish I'd had the benefit of a few Andy Warner's during my career.

I was very impressed with the broad functionality of the software and it has been very competently developed to exploit the features of Microsoft Windows. Robbie (my wife) and I did the MasterTreeGrower programme organised by Rowan Reid. Sadly, we have not implemented many of the techniques that we learnt. After many years of paperwork as a project manager, I must confess that like many, I abhor paperwork.

This software provides a vehicle for documenting and managing our plantation. Any private forester who does not make use of this 'attractively priced' software is indeed a fool.

Gustavo Iglesias Trabado, GIT Forestry Consulting, Spain

I recall when I first got a copy of the Toolbox, I felt like a kid with a new and wonderful toy.

I later put it in the hands of the research group at the local Forestry School (University of Santiago de Compostela) which is specialised in forestry inventory and growth / yield modelling. Couple of years later, I see some of them have also found it a wonderful tool, and have worked with process based models to try to start producing equivalent tools suitable for a potential future local use.

Kim Brooksbank, Project Manager, Biomass and Bioenergy, Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, Australia

I’ve been using the Farm Forestry Toolbox as my ready reckoner for forestry related calculations for over 15 years. It’s an awesome set of tools and the best decision support system for forestry that I have found.

David Wettenhall, RPF, FIFA, Plantall Forestry Consultants, WA, Australia

Farm Forestry Toolbox (FFT) includes fantastic forest inventory analysis, growth modelling and economic evaluation capacities. This suite of forestry software has been developed over two decades and is particularly reliable for application in the Australian forestry context. There is on-screen and video Help to guide users and expert support for issues which users cannot resolve.

It is especially useful for data analysis of sawlog plantations because it can report logs by size and product classes and generates product values as well as volumes. We use FFT to process our field data which is easily imported from an Excel workbook. Field inputs include Series, Plot and Tree details which may include species, DBHOB, height, stump heights, bark thickness, stem qualities/heights and marking for thinning. Result outputs include individual Tree products, Plot volumes by log grade and Series statistics and product results. Results are easily exported to Excel for your records and presentations.

Log grades can be defined by the local standards and market values. We use local softwood and hardwood sawlog and pulpwood values and have even used it for analysis of Sandalwood volumes. It has the capability of reporting biomass and Carbon content.

Estimates of future standing volume can be generated by applying a choice of growth models to your tree data and site data accessed by the growth model. There is a broad choice of models available for various species. This is especially useful for small forestry services which do not have access to the most expensive or unpublished models.

Value and product out-turn of various regimes can be evaluated using the Stand Manager readily allowing comparison of returns by Net Present Value and Internal Rate of Return. The Stand Manager allows the user to input unlimited silviculture and expense events and growth effects which can be applied to numerous rotations.

The FFT provides reliable analysis for calculation of Land Expectation Values. This allows the comparison of commercial forest values at various discount rates.

Plantall Forestry Consultants have used the Farm Forestry Toolbox for 20 years. It is a very accessible, easy to use forestry analysis package which I have no hesitation in recommending to small growers, foresters and even larger corporations as a basis of their inventory data processing and modelling.