ESSA has just completed a two year software development project in partnership with the US Forest Service. The architectural enhancement allows all geographic variants of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) to be integrated more closely with other landscape modeling and planning tools and creates new possibilities for innovation.

FVS is the core forest-stand projection model used throughout the US, and is also available for much of BC and Ontario. Simulation results are unchanged following the enhancement, but the program architecture has been restructured so that other programming and modeling systems can now take very precise supervisory control over starting, stopping and restarting FVS simulations, scheduling a wide variety of stand management and disturbance events; even allowing alternative growth projections to be provided to the FVS system without needing a full static linkage to the underlying source code.

A draft of the Application Program Interface (API) that enables FVS integration has been published here, along with two sets of working examples based on the R language and VB.Net. In addition to closer integration with other modeling systems, FVS has recently moved to an open-source development model – “open-fvs” – to stimulate innovation and enable FVS development within a wider modeling community.