360° virtual forest tours (VFTs), created by state-of-the-art virtual reality technology, contribute to advance academic e-learning, forest management and environmental awareness.
A virtual replication of real-world forest stands allows for repeatable experience in a specific area of interest, independently of the current weather conditions, season of the year or transport. The exchange of (detailed, computerized) academic knowledge in connection to forestry (e.g. types of vegetation and structural composition, growth over time, or effects of natural disasters) can be fostered by the opportunities offered by 360° VFT.
The 360° VFTs offer visual impressions of environmental conditions at a particular geographical location that can be compared with each other. This makes VFTs a holistic and comprehensive medium for understanding the complex interdependencies that exist within a forest ecosystem. The level of immersion provided by 360° VFTs cannot be accomplished by traditional textual or photographic learning materials.