Environmental Management

, Volume 62, Issue 6, pp 1108–1133 | Cite as

Digital Technologies for Forest Supply Chain Optimization: Existing Solutions and Future Trends

  • Johannes Scholz
  • Annelies De Meyer
  • Alexandra S. Marques
  • Tatiana M. Pinho
  • José Boaventura-Cunha
  • Jos Van Orshoven
  • Christian Rosset
  • Julien Künzi
  • Jaakola Kaarle
  • Kaj Nummila


The role of digital technologies for fostering sustainability and efficiency in forest-based supply chains is well acknowledged and motivated several studies in the scope of precision forestry. Sensor technologies can collect relevant data in forest-based supply chains, comprising all activities from within forests and the production of the woody raw material to its transformation into marketable forest-based products. Advanced planning systems can help to support decisions of the various entities in the supply chain, e.g., forest owners, harvest companies, haulage companies, and forest product processing industry. Such tools can help to deal with the complex interdependencies between different entities, often with opposing objectives and actions—which may increase efficiency of forest-based supply chains. This paper analyzes contemporary literature dealing with digital technologies in forest-based supply chains and summarizes the state-of-the-art digital technologies for real-time data collection on forests, product flows, and forest operations, as well as planning systems and other decision support systems in use by supply chain actors. Higher sustainability and efficiency of forest-based supply chains require a seamless information flow to foster integrated planning of the activities over the supply chain—thereby facilitating seamless data exchange between the supply chain entities and foster new forms of collaboration. Therefore, this paper deals with data exchange and multi-entity collaboration aspects in combination with interoperability challenges related with the integration among multiple process data collection tools and advanced planning systems. Finally, this interdisciplinary review leads to the discussion of relevant guidelines that can guide future research and integration projects in this domain.


Digital technologies Planning systems Sensors Interoperability and information exchange Optimization Collaboration 



This research has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 604286 and called “FOCUS” (Advances in Forestry Control and Automation Systems in Europe). The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of the members of the FOCUS consortium. Further funding was obtained from the Project “NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000020 (TEC4Growth—Pervasive Intelligence, Enhancers and Proofs of Concept with Industrial Impact)”, financed by the North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the PORTUGAL 2020 Partnership Agreement, and through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Scholz
    • 1
  • Annelies De Meyer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alexandra S. Marques
    • 4
    • 5
  • Tatiana M. Pinho
    • 4
    • 5
  • José Boaventura-Cunha
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jos Van Orshoven
    • 2
  • Christian Rosset
    • 6
  • Julien Künzi
    • 7
  • Jaakola Kaarle
    • 8
  • Kaj Nummila
    • 8
  1. 1.Graz University of TechnologyInstitute of GeodesyGrazAustria
  2. 2.KU LeuvenDepartment of Earth & Environmental SciencesHeverleeBelgium
  3. 3.Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)Unit Separation and Conversion TechnologiesMolBelgium
  4. 4.INESC TEC - INESC Technology and SciencePortoPortugal
  5. 5.UTAD - Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto DouroEscola de Ciências e TecnologiaVila RealPortugal
  6. 6.School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFLUniversity of Applied SciencesZollikofenSwitzerland
  7. 7.School of Engineering and Information TechnologyUniversity of Applied SciencesBienneSwitzerland
  8. 8.VTT Technical Research Center of FinlandVTTFinland

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