ITTO project releases app for calculating timber volumes in products using smartphones

9 June 2023

Photo: INAB

Yokohama, Japan, 9 June 2023: Software for smartphones developed by Guatemala’s National Forest Institute (INAB) under an ITTO project can be used to calculate log volumes requiring only photographs and a few simple measurements. The app also enables the scaling of logs for products such as sawnwood, rectangular boards, round billets, sawdust, chips, fuelwood, wood pieces and charcoal.

The app, called CUBIFOR (Cubicación de Productos Forestales—“Scaling of Forest Products”) is an output of an ITTO project, “Implementing mechanisms to improve traceability in the forest production chain in Guatemala”. It is based on the methodology, products and formulas set out in the Guía Práctica para la Cubicación de Productos Forestales (“Practical Guide to Forest Product Scaling”), which was also produced by the project.

“The conventional method for measuring the volume of logs in transport involves a lengthy process,” said Antonio Albizures, INAB’s Head of Forest Industry. “Every face of visible logs in the stack must be measured to determine an average diameter and, based on this, to calculate the stacking factor. This is very time-consuming, thus decreasing efficiency and increasing operating costs.”

CUBIFOR is simple to use because it requires only a photograph of the block of logs, either on the truck or in a log stack, to estimate volume, plus an estimate of the average width and length of the stack. The app recognizes each log face and calculates the average diameter and stacking factor. It generates a report with the resultant scaled volumes, which can be downloaded in Excel and PDF formats.

“We expect the app to help forest companies improve forest management and strengthen their internal inventory control activities, as well as all activities requiring the quantification of timber volumes,” said Mr Albizures.

“This is the kind of practical innovation for boosting sustainable forest management practices that ITTO projects can bring,” said ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru. “ITTO stands ready to support the uptake of this and other tools across the tropics.”

CUBIFOR can be downloaded free of charge and is available for Android operating systems (available in Spanish only).

Related SDGs

The app, called CUBIFOR (Cubicación de Productos Forestales—“Scaling of Forest Products”) is increasing the efficiency and accuracy of forest operations.

The project aims to increase Guatemala’s institutional capacity in the monitoring of forest products through strengthening mechanisms that facilitate traceability along the forest production chain.

Sustainably managed tropical forests, and their associated supply chains contribute to climate-change mitigation by improving practices on the ground.

Improved monitoring of the flow of timber and other forest products, will in turn, boost sustainable forest management practices on the ground.