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Tradeoffs among Ecosystem Benefits: An Analysis Framework in the Evaluation of Forest Management Alternatives

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This article presents an analysis framework to develop and compare forest management alternatives by quantifying the tradeoffs among several forest ecosystem benefits. First, we present a modeling environment that estimates future outcomes simulated over a period of time given a set of management goals, existing laws and regulations, and the capacity of the forest ecosystem to provide quantified forest ecosystem values. This environment integrates image processing, geographic information systems, growth and yield simulation, and linear programming software. Second, we propose the use of Euclidean distances as a decision support tool that allows an analysis of the social, economic, and environmental values provided within each scenario. We found that the use of Euclidean distances as a decision support tool represents a simple and flexible way to compare management alternatives. The normalization of the different forest ecosystem benefits, estimated in their own units, allows analysts to compare and integrate them together without having to translate these values into a common measurement unit. We tested this analysis framework on 36,000 ac of state-owned land in western Maine.

Keywords: decision support; planning; simulation environments; tradeoffs; valuation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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