Description and validation of a hybrid model of forest growth and stand dynamics for the Great Lakes region

Andrew P. Robinson, Alan R. Ek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We describe and test Forest 5, an individual-tree growth and dynamics model for the Great Lakes region. Forest 5 includes reasonably detailed descriptions of physiology, soil and climate, and incorporates both empirically- and physiologically-based modules from Crobas, Linkages, Forest, Sortie, PnET, 3-PG, and other sources. We have evaluated a nonspatial variant of Forest 5 as a scientific statement of knowledge by comparing simulation results to a battery of ecosystem-level expectations. We also evaluated the same model as a tool for management by comparing single-species, single-age simulations against mensurational and ecological expectations. We finally compared multiple-species multi-age simulations against six measurements of permanent sample plots, spanning approximately 30 years, from a database from the University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center. Here we describe Forest 5 in detail, introduce, explain, and apply the diagnostics, and interpret their results in the light of the model structure and goals. The model was judged defensible under certain circumstances but exhibited shortcomings that are probably due to nutrient cycling and the simulation of tree shape, crown shape, and competition. These shortcomings are in turn instructive in considering refinements to Forest 5 and possibly other models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-104
Number of pages32
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research supported by the College of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, and the College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho. Published as MAES Paper No. 994420023 of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. The authors would like to thank Professor Peter Reich for support during the modeling process. Dr. Christopher Schwalm and Professor Paul Bolstad of the University of Minnesota provided thoughtful reviews of early drafts, and Dr. Robert Monserud of the USDA Forest Service provided advice and encouragement. We also thank the Associate Editor and two anonymous referees for helpful comments.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Crobas
  • Empirical model
  • Forest 5
  • Individual tree growth model
  • Mixed species
  • Process-based model


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