Potential Yields and Economic Returns of Natural Disturbance-Based Silviculture: A Case Study from the Acadian Forest Ecosystem Research Program
Abstract:Intrastand variability is promoted by many silvicultural systems designed to emulate natural disturbance regimes (natural disturbance-based silviculture [NDBS] systems) in the eastern United States and Canada but this variability is difficult to model in many growth-and-yield models, limiting application by the region's forest managers. We used a resampling approach to integrate intrastand variability into Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) growth-and-yield projections. We subsequently compared potential yield and financial returns over a 100-year period for two NDBS systems monitored in the Acadian Forest Ecosystem Research Program with two conventional systems: a two-stage uniform shelterwood and a single-tree selection system. NDBS systems produced the widest diameter distribution at the end of the harvest rotation and were more effective in recruiting large trees (>24 in.) and more diverse species relative to conventional silviculture systems. Projected merchantable yield and financial return were highest for the single-tree selection, followed by the two NDBS systems and finally the shelterwood; however, if standing merchantable value at the end of simulation was included, the NDBS systems ranked first and third overall financially. Our analysis suggests that NDBS systems are capable of sustaining a greater diversity in forest structure and composition while producing volume yields and financial returns that are competitive with conventional even- and uneven-aged silvicultural systems.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2013-05-01
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