Forestland Appraisal System
Kamiak Econometrics presents a new and exciting internet tool for users to explore called the "Forest Resource Analysis System Software" (FRASS). This program revolutionizes the task of determining financially optimal timber harvest rotation lengths for current timber stands, the next rotation, and future rotations into perpetuity. The user is guided through a process of determining current market values, costs, and economic realities. These components are combined with detailed forest inventory data for discrete timber stands on parcels. The reports generated provide the user with details on the “economically optimal” timber harvest rotations for each parcel, and a Parcel Value estimate based on the assumption that Timber Production is the Highest and Best Use.
The FRASS program has been designed and developed by Kamiak Environmental, LLC, to create a reliable and efficient lands management system for scheduling economically optimal forest management activities while also valuing discrete timber stands. FRASS has been designed to integrate factors of timber species, size, growth, density, and response to management with data on soils productivity, riparian protection for riverine species, bird species, and zoning regulations. These physical site conditions are combined with monthly updated market economic data to provide users with predictions of value and management activities consistent with optimal economic decision making tools. At the same time, it provides users a reliable system of predicting the probable sales price of parcels based on timber production as the Highest and Best Use.
Development and Testing of the System
We began assembling the approach to the land appraisal system as other projects were fulfilled for clients over the past 25 years. The designer of this program, Dr. William E. Schlosser, combined his personal expertise in forestry and natural resource economics with GIS analysis and mapping, to make this system operational and reliable. Critically important professionals skilled in computer database administration and web programming rounded out this multi-disciplinary team.
The FRASS program is the result of thousands of hours of Kamiak Environmental’s development efforts leading to an assemblage of information and results unparalleled anywhere. This is a unique system to meet a wide array of results for land valuation and appraisals, financially optimal timber harvest rotation scheduling, and the protection of specific habitat across the landscape where the expatriation of a species is at risk from the temporal removal of critical habitat.
USPAP Compliant Appraisal System Approach
The FRASS system is compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) regulations for conducting property appraisals. The FRASS program does not replace the Appraiser’s role in verifying a parcel’s value, but it assists the Appraiser in making that determination.
While USPAP provides a minimum set of quality control standards for the conduct of appraisal in the U.S., it does not attempt to prescribe specific methods to be used. Rather, USPAP simply requires that appraisers be familiar with and correctly utilize those methods which would be acceptable to other appraisers familiar with the assignment at hand and acceptable to the intended users of the appraisal.
The FRASS program has been developed to integrate these features into the Parcel Reports while using the photographic, mapping, tabular, and other required data in property reports to generate the Income Capitalization Approach. FRASS gives the appraiser sensibly organized information directly related to the parcel being evaluated. Parcel values and associated reports are clearly and immediately presented to the Appraiser.
Forest Management Financial Optimization
The FRASS approach is focused on parcels, composed of timber stands, roads, rivers, and other physical components of the land and resources. The holders of these lands may be commercial timber companies, federal or state agencies, Trust owners, or Indian Tribes or Nations. The process of determining the site’s intrinsic value in response to site factors and the economic profile of the region is part of this value estimation process.
FRASS is organized to provide the user with the information to apply optimal solutions to harvest rotation length with the consideration of financial impacts from harvest timing alterations. The highly integrated economic analysis is combined in FRASS with the parcel’s physical characteristics to determine the current timber rotation length, the next timber rotation length, and all rotation lengths into perpetuity, to generate the optimal economic solution. This effective forest management professional tool translates into the highest financial return to the landowner.
The FRASS program guides the user through the process of assembling data, from a variety of sources that determines the parcel’s suitability for regulatory compliance factors of forest management versus timber production. The FRASS program delivers a detailed picture to guide managerial decisions with reference to existing limitations or preferences dictated by the parcel’s physical characteristics.
Hosting the FRASS Program
Users have exclusive access to their data over a series of security protocols limiting access with site passwords, unique user authorizations, secure socket layers, and access monitoring. When our clients enter into an agreement with Kamiak Environmental, we host the program on a Kamiak Environmental designed server optimized to the operations of the analyses needed to generate the parcel reports in nearly real-time. For instance, the generation of a 40 acre parcel’s value with 5 unique and discrete timber stands might take only 90 seconds, and result in the generation of a 50 page Full Parcel Report. The results are generated from hundreds of thousands of calculations to guarantee the highest value timber management scenario for the parcel.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
FRASS data is managed through a combination of a SQL server database and web programming, with user access through a secure internet connection, access passwords, and user credential verification. Kamiak Environmental clients are provided access to their licensed site for an unlimited number of authorized users during the duration of the access agreement.
Users of this system can come to the site using virtually any computer that can access the internet and read PDF documents. We have tested site access by Windows OS computers (4 different web browser versions), Linux computers, Apple McIntosh computers, and even on I-Pad devices. The FRASS server does the calculations so your device does not have to.
How to Get Started
Kamiak Environmental has designed and implemented a DEMONSTRATION site of FRASS for users to see how the interactions are arranged, how economic data is collected, and how the reports are generated. The demonstration site is based on Pack Forest near Eatonville, Washington, managed by the University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.
This demonstration site uses the actual land specific characteristics such as LiDAR generated digital elevation models, soil survey data, streams, riparian zones, threatened, endangered, and sensitive species habitat, public land survey system identifications, and road network specifics. Forest growth modeling for this forest was completed on forest timber stands mapped by the University of Washington within the Landscape Management System (LMS) program training materials. Forest growth was estimated using LMS and the Organon forest growth model for the current rotation and the subsequent rotations on each parcel.
The demonstration of this site, however, breaks away from reality as it divides the public land survey system into parcels ranging in size from 10 to 40 acres. We have identified the owners of these parcels as historic figures in the forestry world to current people in the development of the science of forestry today. These names assigned in this demonstration are purely artificial (Gifford Pinchot is not really a landowner on the Pack Forest), but they do give the FRASS user a demonstration of how the program works.
We invite you to come to the site and see it for yourself. Access to this site is only granted on a per user access permission basis.
- We require you to first request access to the site by sending an e-mail to Kamiak Environmental
- Click here
Protection measures are part of the system’s requirements to guarantee site security and the confidentiality of our client’s data. This demonstration site has no confidential data, but we have initiated most of the security measures we implement on a production site. The only security measure we do not include on this demo site is the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protection of data encryption between the user and the server (generally seen as the https:// prefix on the site address). That service is available for clients who desire that level of protection.