Sustainable management of forest resources can only be achieved through a well-organized road network compatible with the natural environment. This paper describes a method for forest road network planning and the environmental impact assessment based on Spatial Multi-Criteria Evaluation (SMCE) at the Island of Thassos, Greece. Data analysis and its presentation are achieved through a spatial decision support system using multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) with the contribution of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In this paper we present the assessment of: the forest’s opening up percentage, the forest road density, the applied skidding means (with either the use of tractors or the cable logging systems in wood skidding), the timber skidding direction, the traffic load and truck type, the distance between forest roads and streams, the distance between forest roads and the forest boundaries and if the forest roads come through unstable soils. With the assessment of the above factors we can evaluate the intensity of forest roads’ environmental impacts. The Multi-Criteria Evaluation which is recommended and described at this study provides a powerful and easy to use implement in order to combine cartographic models and other image data and to define solutions to unstructured, as well as semi-structured, problems. It can also be used in order to minimize and evaluate the environmental impacts of forest roads planning.
Keywords: forest road network planning, environmental impact assessment, spatial multi-criteria evaluation, GIS