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Modeling Changes in Wildlife Habitat and Timber Revenues in Response to Forest Management

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Few models evaluate the effects of forest management options on wildlife habitat and incorporate temporal and spatial trends in forest growth. Moreover, existing habitat models do not explicitly consider economic trade-offs or allow for landscape level projections. To address these concerns, we linked standard wildlife habitat suitability models with habitat projections from the Landscape Management System (LMS). LMS integrates spatially explicit forest inventories with forest growth, decay, and silviculture treatment (e.g., planting, thinning, harvesting) models to compare some economic and biological impacts of forest management on wildlife habitats at spatial scales ranging from the individual forest stand to the landscape. We used LMS to quantify pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Cooper's hawk (Accipiter cooperi), and southern red-backed vole (Clethrionomys gapperi) habitat qualities across landscapes and to project habitat changes through time. We modeled five forest management scenarios (including no action, intensive management for timber production, moderate management and intensive management to enhance mature forest structure, and mixed management for wildlife and timber) proposed for the 566 ha Satsop Forest in western Washington. The selected wildlife species' habitats (mixture of mature conifer and deciduous forests) were maximized by simply allowing the forest to grow with no management. However, this cost an estimated $929,539/yr in lost timber revenue. Intensive thinning, replanting, and retention of large trees increased habitat for all focal species and provided $384,558/yr return from timber. Because of potential short-term reductions in habitat that occur during long-term enhancement strategies (e.g., intensive thinning) and limited ability to model understory growth dynamics, monitoring and validation of predictions would be necessary. FOR. SCI. 48(2):191–202.

Keywords: Economics; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest modeling; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; habitat suitability; landscape ecology; natural resource management; natural resources; wildlife habitat

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Box 352100 Seattle, WA, 98195, 2: Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri, 302 A-BNR Building, Columbia, MO, 65211 3: College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Box 352100 Seattle, WA, 98195

Publication date: May 1, 2002

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