Skip to main content

FORCAT: A Single Tree Model of Stand Development Following Clearcutting on the Cumberland Plateau

Buy Article:

$29.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)


A single tree model, FORCAT, was developed as a forest management tool for the Cumberland Plateau region of East Tennessee. FORET (Shugart and West 1977), a gap model of forest succession in East Tennessee, served as the basic program for the simulation of stand regeneration, competition, tree growth, and mortality. Gap models have been used to simulate successional changes in species composition over periods of up to 1,000 years for many different forest types. Even though the output of gap models has included specific information such as basal area and density, the accuracy of short-term predictions of these variables remains relatively untested for forest management purposes. A test of FORET indicated that the model was not readily adaptable to different sites and management schemes. Therefore, major modifications to the basic program were necessary. Some of the more significant changes included in FORCAT are: (1) beginning the simulation with a mature stand (which was immediately clearcut) rather than bare ground, (2) growth rates based on site quality and local climatic conditions, (3) basing seed availability on species-specific characteristics, and (4) simulation of periodic clearcutting and prescribed burning. Validation tests showed that FORCAT successfully predicted basal area, numbers of trees, and species composition of 50- to 100-year-old stands. In younger stands, however, the number of seedlings of pioneer species was underestimated. This variance emphasizes the difficulty of projecting regeneration abundance and indicates the need for further model refinement. Nevertheless, FORCAT serves as a bridge from a highly theoretical model of forest succession to a useful forest management tool. Additional inputs controlling seed availability are needed to make FORCAT more broadly applicable to all forest types found on the Cumberland Plateau. Forest Sci. 32: 297-317.

Keywords: FORET; gap model; land type; multiple-use management; prescribed fire; simulation; stand dynamics

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Principal Silviculturist, Sewanee Silviculture Laboratory, Sewanee, TN 37375

Publication date: 1986-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
  • Submit a Paper
  • Membership Information
  • Author Guidelines
  • Podcasts
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more