Free and Open Source Software for Geomatics Conference FOSS4G 2010 Barcelona

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The current approach to the satisfaction of energy needs envisions a mix of renewable energy sources. In a forest rich region, such as the Italian alpine area, one of the main renewable energy source is the wood biomass available in its forests.

The BIOMASFOR project aims to evaluate the amount of this resource in the Trentino region (Italy) and, more important, to asses which part of biomass is actually exploitable, given its quality and the energy needed to move it to the facilities where it is used.

Therefore, a model based on the FOSS4G framework to estimate biomass availability for energy production in an alpine area has been developed.

A considerable amount of data regarding forest management is available in Trentino, but a reliable evaluation of biomass availability must take into account the local management of forest resources and the actual possibility to reach the forest parcels, depending on infrastructures and terrain morphology. The model combines the morphological characteristics of mountain landscape and the different features of the forest exploitation means and techniques in order to improve the current estimates by the local government and to create a more general tool for biomass evaluation.

The complex logical structure of the model has been implemented in a tool which combines GRASS, PostgreSQL and PostGIS. The interaction between a GIS and a DBMS is essential to process and blend the spatial information and the huge and complex management plan database. Several scripts have been developed to apply the model to a wide area. Furthermore, the model has been implemented as a new GRASS module.

The forests of Trentino have been classified depending on different exploitation methods, providing a more accurate evaluation of biomass availability and to identify possible future location of biomass power plants, helping to define biomass potential and management guidelines.



Pietro Zambelli - University of Trento
Chiara Lora - University of Trento
Marco Ciolli - University of Trento
Raffaele Spinelli - Consiglio Nazionale per le Ricerche
Clara Tattoni - University of Trento
Alfonso Vitti - University of Trento
Paolo Zatelli - University of Trento

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