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Forecasting landscape-scale, cumulative effects of forest management on vegetation and wildlife habitat: A case study of issues, limitations, and opportunities

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Forest landscape disturbance and succession models have become practical tools for large-scale, long-term analyses of the cumulative effects of forest management on real landscapes. They can provide essential information in a spatial context to address management and policy issues related to forest planning, wildlife habitat quality, timber harvesting, fire effects, and land use change. Widespread application of landscape disturbance and succession models is hampered by the difficulty of mapping the initial landscape layers needed for model implementation and by the complexity of calibrating forest landscape models for new geographic regions. Applications are complicated by issues of scale related to the size of the landscape of interest (bigger is better), the resolution at which the landscape is modeled and analyzed (finer is better), and the cost or complexity of applying a landscape model (cheaper and easier is better). These issues spill over to associated analyses that build on model outputs or become integrated as auxiliary model capabilities. Continued development and application of forest landscape disturbance and simulation models can be facilitated by (1) cooperative efforts to initialize more and larger landscapes for model applications, (2) partnerships of practitioners and scientists to address current management issues, (3) developing permanent mechanisms for user support, (4) adding new capabilities to models, either directly or as compatible auxiliary models, (5) increasing efforts to evaluate model performance and compare multiple models running on the same landscape, and (6) developing methods to choose among complex, multi-resource alternatives with outputs that vary over space and time.
Shifley, Stephen R. , Thompson, Frank R. , Dijak, William D. , Fan, Zhaofei
forest succession , landscape ecology , simulation models , decision support systems , forest management , model validation , forests , wildlife , population dynamics , wildlife habitats , forest habitats , vegetation , spatial data , calibration , case studies , planning , prediction
p. 474-483.
Includes references
Forest ecology and management 2008 Feb. 10, v. 254, no. 3
[Amsterdam]: Elsevier Science
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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