SimpleForest - a tree modelling software

SimpleForest is an open source plugin for the Computree platform. Both the plugin as well as the platform are written in C++. The plugin itself is licensed under the Gnu General Public License and utilizes the following libraries: PCL, OpenCV, Eigen, FLANN, Boost, QT and GSL.

SimpleForest produces so called quantitative structure models (QSMs) from point clouds. A QSM is a tree model build with topological ordered cylinders. It allows output generation in form of csv files, which can further be processed with interactive tree modelling software such as Amap studio or analyzed statistically in R. Additionally ply files can be generated and loaded into meshing software like CloudCompare, MeshLab or Blender.

Online Result viewer

Before you download the software you might want to get a quick impression of the result quality.

Click the image to explore highly accurate tree models produced with SimpleForest in 3d. Utilizes the Potree viewer.

Importance of computational forestry

The world's forests bind a significant amount of carbon. While the majority of earth's carbon is bound under the surface of the earth, this carbon is not in contact with the atmosphere. We can ignore this carbon in the sense of climate change. The green house effect caused by Co2 is modelled by the carbon which is already within our atmosphere or in contact with our atmosphere - the so called carbon cycle. Forests are a major sink of circulating carbon, but forest degradation yet leads to a carbon increase.

From IPCC - Mitigation of Climate Change:

  • In spite of a large range across global Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) flux estimates, most approaches indicate a decline in FOLU carbon dioxide (CO2) emis-sions over the most recent years, largely due to decreasing deforestation rates and increased afforestation (limited evidence, medium agreement).
  • In mitigation scenarios with idealized comprehensive climate policies, agriculture, forestry, and bioenergy contribute substantially to the reduction of global CO2, CH4, and N2O emissions, and to the energy system, thereby reducing policy costs (medium evidence; high agree-ment).
  • Anthropogenic forest degradation and biomass burning (forest fires and agricultural burning) also represent relevant contributions. (here increase in C02 is referenced to
  • Spreading of forest fires can be simulated and adaptations can be made.

    From IPCC Summary for Policymakers:

  • Impacts associated with other biodiversity-related risks such as forest fires and the spread of invasive species are lower at 1.5°C compared to 2°C of global warming (high confidence.
  • While deforestation is dangerous as bounded carbon will enter the atmosphere, forests can also be used for renewable energy if planned responsible.

    From Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation:

  • Bioenergy can be produced from a variety of biomass feedstocks, including forest, agricultural and livestock residues; short-rotation forest plantations; energy crops; the organic component of municipal solid waste; and other organic waste streams.
  • Detailed computer models can help in the prediction of forest inventory. They can give an answer to how much carbon is bound right now.

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