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Visual Simulations of Forest Wildlife Habitat Structure, Change, and Landscape Context in New England

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Visualization is a powerful tool for depicting projections of forest structure and landscape conditions, for communicating habitat management practices, and for providing a landscape context to private landowners and to those concerned with public land management. Recent advances in visualization technology, especially in graphics quality, ease of use, and relative ease of learning, make it readily usable by natural resource managers. Concerns about the appearance of even-aged practices, which have the greatest potential to enhance wildlife diversity, have constrained forest management. We developed realistic visual simulations to display the outcomes of forest management practices used to create and maintain a range of wildlife habitat conditions in New England, and to project future landscape appearance for periods up to 100 years. We describe the simulation process so that it can be used elsewhere. Realistic visual images can be a useful tool to clearly display habitat management alternatives for landowners and participants in public land management and to improve communication about the long-term appearance of the landscape as periodic treatments are applied.
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Keywords: forest wildlife habitat; habitat change; landscape; visualization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2007

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