Landscape modeling for forest restoration planning and assessment: lessons from the Southern Appalachian Mountains
Restoration planning, evaluation, and implementation are important in areas where abiotic disturbances (e.g., wildfires, hurricanes, and ice storms), biotic disturbances (e.g., outbreaks of native and exotic invasive pests and diseases), and anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., harvesting, planting, and fire exclusion) have altered forest landscapes. However, the effects of restoration practices are difficult to measure, and restoration goals often are unclear. Landscape modeling provides a tool for evaluating outcomes of various management scenarios and restoration strategies. In this article, we provide a framework for using landscape models for forest restoration. Specifically, we present a case study using LANDIS, a landscape simulation model of forest disturbance and succession, to explore the effects of restoration strategies for forests damaged by southern pine beetle in the southern Appalachians. Our research suggests that landscape models are valuable tools in the forest restoration decisionmaking process. Future work on landscape models for forest restoration and other related issues is discussed.
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