Simulating stand-level harvest prescriptions across landscapes: LANDIS PRO harvest module design
Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Forest landscape models (FLMs) are an important tool for assessing the long-term cumulative effects of harvest over large spatial extents. However, they have not been commonly used to guide forest management planning and on-the-ground operations. This is largely because FLMs track relatively simplistic vegetation information such as age cohort presence/absence, forest type, and biomass that are incompatible with tree density and size on which most harvest prescriptions are based. We describe and demonstrate the newly developed harvest module of the LANDIS PRO FLM, which tracks density, size, basal area, and stocking by species age cohorts for each site (cell). With this quantitative information, the module can simulate basal area controlled harvest, stocking-level controlled harvest, and group selection harvest. Through user-specified harvest year (frequency), stand ranking, and species and age preference, the new module can simulate a wide variety of harvest prescriptions such as thinning from above and below, shelterwood, clear-cutting, and group selection. We applied the LANDIS PRO harvest module to a large (17 000 km2) central hardwood forest landscape in Missouri. The simulated harvest prescriptions produced realistic stand-scale results when plotted on Gingrich stocking charts. The harvest module improves on previous versions by allowing partial treatment of individual age-classes within a cell and reporting results in metrics commonly used in stand-scale silviculture. It provides a closer link between landscape-scale simulation methods and stand-scale management.