The SafeD model : incorporating episodic disturbances and heuristic programming into forest management planning for the Applegate River Watershed, southwestern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/70795d13m

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  • A hybrid landscape optimization/simulation model called SafeD (Simulation and analysis of forests with episodic Disturbances) was built to address the needs of forest management planning in the Applegate River Watershed, southwestern Oregon (the Apple gate Project). There are two goals of the Applegate Project: 1) search for forest policies and practices that achieve goals set for the watershed; and 2) simulate forest condition over time (in the context of possible stochastic disturbances) considering the effects of different forest policies and practices. The SafeD model implements a four-stage process to guide management of the forested landscape to achieve specified goals over a planning horizon (40 years). The first stage develops stand prescriptions, for each recognized forest stand type and condition, which are designed to achieve specific stand goals. The second stage selects the prescription for each stand. The selection of prescriptions is accomplished using a heuristic programming technique, called the Great Deluge Algorithm, which is designed to find the "optimal" prescriptions that satisfy goals at the landscape level. In stage three the episodic disturbance processes are initiated. The episodic disturbances includes fire and insect attacks with weather patterns providing the stochastic element. Fire is spread using the FARSITE fire spread model with fine-resolution landscape data (25 meters x 25 meters). Insect attacks occur during drought periods in stands with excess basal area. Stage four is the re-analysis and re-selection of stand prescriptions (for the remaining time in the planning period) to accommodate for disturbances in stage three. A sample application of the SafeD model is presented here. Two landscape scenarios were developed. The first scenario contains two landscape goals. One goal is to produce the greatest amount of big trees (>=15" DBH) across the landscape. The second goal is actually a sub-watershed equivalent roaded acre (ERA) constraint. The second scenario presents a grow-only strategy to encapsulate the idea of leaving a landscape unmanaged. The results show several interesting conclusions which may have implications for forest management practices in the Applegate River Watershed. First, in order to maximize the number of big trees across the watershed timber harvesting will need to occur. Second, the effects of episodic insect disturbance negate the need for as much timber harvesting as would be projected without accounting for such disturbances. And third, fire plays a significantly less role, in regards to tree mortality, than insects will.
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