Forest Investment Framework (FIF)


Forest Investment Framework (FIF) enables decision-makers to identify sub-catchments or regions across New Zealand and assess their viability of purchasing land and its conversion to forestry. It supports policy decisions and strategic planning on the economics of forestry scenarios and the value of ecosystem services provided by future and existing forests (natural or planted).


The Forest Investment Framework (FIF), previously called the Forest Investment Finder, has been developed to enable the assessment of key ecosystem services provided by planted forests in New Zealand.

A spatial economic framework for mapping, assessing and quantifying multiple forest ecosystem service values. Its timber viability component combines forest productivity surfaces with infrastructure networks, economic data (e.g. establishment, silvicultural, harvesting costs, log prices) and impedance layers. Its ecosystem service component combines a wide range of data to assess key ecosystem services values provided by planted forests in New Zealand. FIF's timber viability component is validated using data from seven case-study forests in New Zealand. Results of the validation exercise suggest that FIF is a very good viability assessment tool because it provides very accurate estimates of costs and revenues that case-study forests actually generated.

Modelling of services provides spatially explicit value estimates of carbon sequestration, erosion reduction, flood mitigation and provision of native species habitats. Developing spatial economic functions include avoided nutrients, water supply, recreation and aesthetics. It enables market (timber and carbon) and non-market (avoided sedimentation) values of ecosystem services from proposed afforestation sites as well as existing planted forests to be estimated.

FIF’s spatially explicit outputs include maps and tables of values which can be used to describe the broader benefits of existing or proposed forests or tree blocks. In addition, the FIF can accommodate new spatial functions of other ecosystem services.

It provides meaningful results for strategic-level planning objectives across different types of forestry regimes such as pruned, unpruned, bioenergy and permanent forests

Initally the tool was called Forest Investment Finder (FIF). This version only included timber and carbon sequestration values. Then an avoided erosion layer was added and it was termed FIF plus (Barry et al. 2014). It has now had further spatial value layers developed such as avoided nutrients, water yield and recreation, and it is now refered to as Forest Investment Framework (also FIF) as described in Yao et al. 2016.

Latest Version Version 1.0
State of Development Released and updated
Current Development Activity Adding new forest productivity layers, for example redwood, cypresses, manuka, eucalypts,Douglas-fir, kauri, totara and red beech. Developing new spatial economic functions on ecosystem services including avoided nutrients, water yield, recreation, aesthetics, and cultural values.

Development Contact

Dr Richard Yao
Te Papa Tipu Innovation Park
49 Sala Street, Rotorua 3010
Private Bag 3020, Rotorua 3046
New Zealand

Main Developers

  • Scion


Outcome Areas Environmental, Economic
Management Domains Land, Ecosystem Services, Freshwater, Biodiversity
Subdomains Water Yield, Water Quality, Ecosystem/Habitat, Erosion/Sediment, Flooding
Intended End Users
  • Researcher
Spatial Extents Local (i.e. Catchment or District), Regional, National
Spatial Dimensions 2D
Temporal Resolutions Months, Years, Decades
Temporal Extents Decades, Years
Steady State or Dynamic Dynamic
Level of Integration Economic, Environmental

Input & Output Data

Key Input Data Land Use Maps: Road networks, forest locations (future forests are the default forest locations in FIF) (Watt et al. 2010), Fundamental Soils Layer (FSL). Impedance layer developed from River Environments Classification (REC) and terrain attributes. Impedance layer based on soil type and slope. Economic data: MPI 12-quarter average log prices, standard forestry growing, harvesting and transport costs; Economic valuation survey data on biodiversity conservation in planted forests (Yao et al. 2014) Environmental data: New Zealand Empirical Erosion Model (NZEEM) (Dymond et al 2010)
Input Data Formats GIS compatible files Raster 25x25m grid
Key Output Data Macro-economic data ecosystem service values
Output Data Formats GIS Compatible Files, XLS(S)


Open/Closed Source Closed Source
Licence Cost
(Non Commercial)
Not available for non-commercial use
Licence Cost
Price negotiable

User Information

Operating Systems MS Windows
User Interface Graphical desktop Requires Python GUI
Ease of Use Moderate Level of technical capability required.
Use in Policy Process Do (Policy Implementation), Plan (Policy Formulation)

Currently in-progress

Technical Considerations

Programming Language Python
Methods included for calibration and validation Timber viability component validated using seven forest case study sites (within 22% accuracy)
Analytical Techniques Input/output, GIS
Model Structure

FIF Flow Diagram2

Keywords Forest ecosystem services, timber viability, pimus radiata, impedance layers, revenue layers, carbon sequestration, avoided erosion, provision of habitats, roading costs
Linkages to other Models

Scion Website

   - Forest Investment Framework

   - Valuing the Forest Ecosystem

Key References

Barry, L. E., Yao, R., Harrison, D. R., Paragahawewa, U. H., & Pannell, D. (2014). Enhancing ecosystem services through afforestation: How policy can help. Land Use Policy, 39, 135-145. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.03.012

Beets, P.N., Robertson, K., Ford-Robertson, J.B., Gordon, J., Maclaren, J.P., 1999. Description and validation of C-change: a model for simulating carbon content in managed Pinus radiata stands. N. Z. J. For. Sci. 29, 409–427.

Yao, R. T., Harrison, D. R., & Harnett, M. (2017). The broader benefits provided by New Zealand's planted forests. New Zealand Journal of Forestry, 61(4), 7-15.

Yao, R. T., Harrison, D. R., Velarde, S. J., & Barry, L. E. (2016). Validation and enhancement of a spatial economic tool for assessing ecosystem services provided by planted forests. Forest Policy and Economics.