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Process Models as Tools in Forestry Research and Management

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Forest process models are mathematical representations of biological systems that incorporate our understanding of physiological and ecological mechanisms into predictive algorithms. These models were originally designed and used for research purposes, but are being developed for use in practical forest management. Process models designed for research typically require complicated and intensive data, whereas models designed for management strive to use simpler and more readily available data and provide predictions useful for forest managers. In this article, we review some different types of process models, examine their requirements and utility in research and forest management, and discuss research priority areas that will increase their accuracy and application. We conclude that soil and nutritional limitations are the most difficult model components in predicting growth responses using process models. FOR. Sci. 47(1):2–8.

Keywords: Scaling; environmental management; forest; forest complexity; forest management; forest modeling approaches; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; modeling challenges; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, P.O. Box 12254 Research Triangle Park, NC, 27606, Phone: (919) 549-4012, Fax: (919) 549-4047 kjohnsen@fs.fed.us 2: School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 36849 3: Warnell School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602 4: USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 920 Main Campus Dr., Venture Center II, Suite 300, Raleigh, NC, 27606 5: Rayonier, Inc., PO Box 819 Yulee, FL, 32041, Current address Dept. of Forestry, Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, VA, 24061

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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.
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