Marco Contreras

Area de Interés: Planificación de operaciones forestales (cosecha, caminos, transporte), Aplicaciones de información LiDAR en al área forestal, Desarrollo de herramientas para la toma de decisiones, Técnicas de optimización y simulación.


  • 2010 Ph.D. in Forestry (Forest Operations Planning),  University of Montana, Estados Unidos.
  • 2006 M.S. in Forestry (Forest Transportation Planning), University of Montana, Estados Unidos.
  • 2003 Ingeniero Forestal, Universidad de Talca, Chile.
  • 2003 Licenciado en Ciencias Forestales (Manejo y Cosecha), Universidad de Talca, Chile.
  • (IBOS244) Gestión Integrada de la Cosecha Forestal
  • (IBOS241) Ergonomía y Mecanización Forestal 
  • (IBOS310)  Análisis Integrado de Operaciones Forestales 
  • (IBOS311)  Sistema de Aprovechamiento de Biomasa Forestal para Bioenergía 


Labbé, R., Niklitschek M., Contreras, M. 2023. Effect of climate change on the land rent of radiata pine plantations in Chile: Site productivity and forest fires. Forest Policy and Economics 156:103068.


Sena, K., Ochuodho, T.O., Agyeman, D.A., Contreras, M., Niman, C., Eaton, D., Yang, J. 2022. Wood bioenergy for rural resilience: Suitable site selection and potential economic impacts in Appalachian Kentucky. Forest Policy and Economics 145:102847.


Contreras, M.A., Staats, W.A., Price, S.J., 2020. Predicting and mapping Plethodontid salamander abundance using LiDAR-derived terrain and vegetation characteristics. Forest Systems 29(2):S005 

Contreras, M.A., Parrott D.L., Stringer J.W., 2020. Retroactive comparison of operator-designed and computer-generated skid-trail networks on steep terrain. Forest Systems 29(1):eSC01



Ferreira, M.A., Silva, C.S.J., Gomide, L.R., Contreras, M.A., Lopes, E.T., Rodrigues, R.C., Mello, J.M., Mendonça, N.P. 2019. Wood supply optimization in Brazilian pulp industry involving forestry outgrower scheme. Revista Árvore 43(5):e430504


Hamid, H., Jacobs, N.B., Contreras, M.A., Clark, C.H. 2019. Deep learning for conifer-deciduous classification of airborne LiDAR 3D point clouds representing individual trees. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 158:219-230.




Contreras, M., Hamraz, H., Zhang, J. 2018. Uso de tecnología de datos LiDAR en inventarios forestales remotos (Use of LiDAR technology in remote forest inventories). In Geomática Aplicada, Mena, C., Ormazábal, Y., Barrientos, V. (Eds). Aerophotogrammetry Service – Chilean Air Force & University of Talca – Chile. pp 139-148. Available from:


Hamraz, H., Contreras, M.A. 2018. Remote sensing of forests using discrete return airborne LiDAR. Recent Advances and Applications in Remote Sensing. Ming Hung (Ed), IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.71777. Available from:




Hamraz, H., Contreras, M., Zhang, J. 2017. Forest understory trees revealed within sufficiently dense airborne laser scanning point clouds. Scientific Reports 7:6770.


Hamraz, H., Contreras, M., Zhang, J. 2017. Vertical stratification of forest canopy for segmentation of under-story trees within small-footprint airborne LiDAR point clouds. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 130:385-392.


Contreras, M., Staats, W., Yang, J., Parrott, D. 2017. Quantifying the accuracy of LiDAR-derived DEM in deciduous eastern forests of the Cumberland Plateau. Journal of Geographic Information System 9:339-353.


Lin, P., Dai, R., Contreras, M.A., Zhang, J. 2017. Combining ant colony optimization with 1-opt local search method for solving constrained forest transportation planning problems. Artificial Intelligence Research 6(2):27-38.


Hamraz, H., Contreras, M., Zhang, J. 2017. A scalable approach for tree segmentation within small-footprint airborne. Computers and Geosciences 102:139-174.


Contreras, M., Freitas, R., Ribeiro, L., Stringer, J.W., Clark, C. 2017. Multi-camera surveillance systems for time and motion studies of timber harvesting equipment. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 135:208-215.




Hamraz, H., Contreras, M., Zhang, J. 2016. A robust approach for tree segmentation in deciduous forests using small-footprint airborne LiDAR data. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 52:532-541.


Lin, P., Contreras, M., Dai, R., Zhang, J. 2016. A multilevel ACO approach for solving forest transportation planning problems with environmental constraints. Swarm and Evolutionary Computation 28:78-87.


Qi, L., Yang, J., Yu, D., Dai, L., Contreras, M. 2016. Responses of regeneration and species coexistence to single-tree selective logging for a temperate mixed forest in eastern Eurasia. Annals of Forest Science 73(2):449-460.


Contreras, M., Parrott, D., Chung, W. 2016. Designing skid-trail networks to reduce skidding cost and soil disturbance for ground-based timber harvesting operations. Forest Science 62(1):48-58.




Nepal, S., Contreras, M., Stainback, G.A., Lhotka, J.M. 2015. Quantifying the Effects of Biomass Market Conditions and Policy Incentives on Economically Feasible Sites to Establish Dedicated Energy Crops. Forests 6(11):4168-4190.


Lin, P., Zhang, J., Contreras, M. 2015. Automatically configuring ACO using multilevel ParamILS to solve transportation planning with underlying weighted networks. Swarm and Evolutionary Computation 20:48-57.


Contreras, M. (Ed). 2015. Proceedings of the 38th annual meeting of the Council on Forest Engineering – “Engineering Solution for Non-Industrial Private Forest Operations”. July 19-22. Lexington, KY. 377 p. (Capítulo de libro)




Nepal, S., Contreras, M., Lhotka, J.M., Stainback, G.A. 2014. A spatially explicit model to identify suitable sites to establish dedicated woody energy crops. Biomass and Bioenergy 71:245-255.


 Vallejos-Barra, O., Daniluk-Mosquera, G., Moras, G., Ponce-Donoso, M., Contreras, M. 2014. Above-ground carbon absorption in young Eucalyptus globulus plantations in Uruguay. Scientia Forestalis v.42, n.101, p.9-19.




Chung, W., Jones, G, Krueger, K., Bramel, J., Contreras, M. 2013. Optimizing fuel treatments over time and space. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22(8):1118-1133.


Contreras, M., Chung, W. 2013. Developing a computerized approach for optimizing tree removal to efficiently reduce crown fire potential.  Forest Ecology and Management 289(1):219-233.




Contreras, M., Aracena, P., Chung, W. 2012. Improving accuracy in earthwork volume estimation for proposed forest roads using a high-resolution digital elevation model. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 33(1):125-142.


Contreras, M., Parsons, R., Chung, W. 2012. Modeling tree-level fuel connectivity to evaluate the effectiveness of thinning treatments for reducing crown fire potential. Forest Ecology and Management 264(2)134-149.




Contreras, M., Affleck, D., Chung, W. 2011. Evaluating tree competition indices as predictors of basal area increment in western Montana forests. Forest Ecology and Management 262(12):1939-1949.


Contreras, M., Chung, W. 2011. A modeling approach to estimating skidding costs for individual trees for thinning operations.  Western Journal of Applied Forestry 26(3):133-146.


Chung, W., Contreras, M. 2011. Forest transportation planning under multiple goals using ant colony optimization. In Ant Colony Optimization - Methods and Applications, Avi Ostfeld (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-157-2, InTech,  Available from:




Contreras, M., Chung, W., Jones, G. 2008. Applying ant colony optimization meta-heuristic to solve forest transportation planning problems with side constraints. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38(11):2896-2910.




Contreras, M., Chung, W. 2007. A computer approach to finding an optimal log landing location and analyzing influencing factors for ground-based timber harvesting. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37(2):276-292.


2022-2024  Responsable de Proyecto Fondef IDeA “Desarrollo de un software para el diseño automatizado de vías de saca que minimicen costos de madereo e impactos al suelo en operaciones con sistemas de cosecha terrestre”.

Ochuodho, T., Contreras, M. 2019. Wood bioenergy for rural energy resilience. Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence, Division of Biofuels. 2019. Co-Investigador Responsable


Contreras, M., Stringer, J.W. 2017. Expanding and enhancing a web-based application to generate automated access routes from timber harvesting sites to emergency personnel locations to the state of Kentucky. Central Appalachian Regional Education & Research Center (CARERC), University of Kentucky. 2017-2018. Investigador Responsable.


Richards, C.M., Contreras, M. 2016. The use of quadcopter UAVs for wildfire and prescribed fire monitoring and data collection. University of Louisville ENVPRI Internal Grant Program.. 2016-2017. Co- Investigador Responsable.


Stringer, J.W., Lhotka, J.M., Contreras, M., Lacki, M.J. 2016. Vertical and horizontal stand structure associated with silvicultural treatments in forested ecosystems of Eastern Kentucky:  Response of Myotis bats during the staging and maternity seasons. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services,. 2017-2019. Co- Investigador Responsable.


Jun Zhang, Contreras, M. 2015. Forest modeling using airborne LiDAR. Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation, KSEF-3405-RDE-018. 2015. Co- Investigador Responsable.


Contreras, M. 2015. Support for the council on forest engineering meeting. Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence, Division of Biofuels.  PON2 127. Investigador Responsable.


Contreras, M. 2015. Support for the council on forest engineering meeting. University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Research Activity Award. Investigador Responsable.


Lacki, M.J., Stringer, J.W., Lhotka, J.M., Dodd, L.E., Contreras, M. 2014. Effect of silvicultural treatments on vertical stand structure in forested ecosystems of the Appalachian Mountain Region:  Implications for foraging and roosting behavior of Myotis bats during the staging, maternity, and swarming seasons. Forestland Group LCC. 2014-2016. Co- Investigador Responsable.


Stringer, J.W., Contreras, M. 2014. Developing a web-based application to generate automated access routes from timber harvesting sites to emergency personnel locations. Central Appalachian Regional Education & Research Center (CARERC), University of Kentucky. 03/2014 – 06/2014. Investigador Responsable.


Contreras, M. 2013. Evaluating the use of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) information to improve forest management decisions. McIntire-Stennis (KAES13-03). 2013-2018. Investigador Responsable.


Contreras, M. 2011. OptFuels: Optimizing fuel treatment location at the landscape level. US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) and the University of Montana. 2011-2012. Investigador Responsable.