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Temporal Connectivity of Mature Patches in Forest Planning Models

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We present a deterministic forest harvest scheduling model that ensures the temporal connectivity of mature forest habitat patches over time in a landscape managed for timber production. Past models have addressed the spatial aspects of habitat connectivity by requiring a certain amount of mature forest habitat to be retained throughout the planning horizon in contiguous patches of minimum size and age. These models do not recognize, however, that the dynamic patches of a managed forest ecosystem might not provide escape routes from “old” to “new” patches for certain wildlife unless there is temporal overlap among the patches. Biologists have suggested that the lifespan of patches is often more important than their size and contiguity for species survival. A mixed-integer programming formulation is proposed that guarantees overlap among patches of mature forest habitat that arise and disappear over time as the forest ages and is harvested. Four real forests are used to illustrate the mechanics of the approach and to show that the model is computationally tractable and in some cases even makes harvest scheduling models with minimum patch size constraints easier to solve.
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Keywords: forest fragmentation; mature forest patches; mixed-integer programming; spatial harvest scheduling; temporal connectivity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-12-13

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.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 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
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