Background: Many forested landscapes throughout the world involve a mix of public forest ownerships. This study explores how coordinated planning between two large public ownerships in Minnesota impact landscape-level trade-offs between timber production and production of core area of older forest (COF) for the region. COF is an important metric for wildlife habitat. Emphasis is on better understanding potential gains from both coordinated planning at the site-level where ownerships share stand boundaries and from coordinated planning at a broader policy level involving assumed values of COF by the public. The study area involves over 300,000 ha, 150,000 analysis units and a 100-year planning horizon. Methods: The concept of influence zones in modeling spatial interdependencies is described and implemented. The estimated total area of COF is assumed an important landscape metric for forest wildlife habitat condition for each forest planning period. COF has a surrounding buffer protecting it from edge effects. Differences are recognized between COF condition requirements and condition requirements for its surrounding buffer. A spatially-explicit harvest scheduling model is applied in conjunction with moving-windows techniques of GIS to find near-optimal management schedules for the large landscape. Multiple model runs are examined to help better understand both potential gains from coordinated planning and the tradeoffs between timber and COF production. Results: Results demonstrate the ability to incorporate detailed site-level COF production into management scheduling models for broad, landscape-level planning. For the study area and the assumed COF definitions, substantially larger gains are possible by coordinating COF value assumptions across ownerships, as compared to possible gains from coordinating on-the-ground management activities in areas involving shared stand boundaries. Although a general map of the study area shows a definite intertwining mosaic of ownership by the two large public agencies, a detailed breakdown of influence zone information shows that a low percentage of the land is influenced by both of these ownerships for COF production. Conclusions: This research helps illuminate potential large gains from coordinated planning at a broad policy level by large public ownerships through coordination of assumed COF values. For the study area, these gains are substantially greater than gains from combined modeling efforts addressing spatial detail and shared stand boundaries or neighborhoods. From a practical standpoint, this is important, as spatial detail adds substantially to model size, making combined analysis a major undertaking. Detailed site-level coordination also presents operational challenges in schedule implementation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded jointly by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, the University of Minnesota North Central Research and Outreach Center and the Interagency Information Cooperative of the Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.
Data sources used in this study (plots, maps, archives) were collected, managed, and synthesized by the faculty and staff of the University of Minnesota North Central Research and Outreach Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The authors thank the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service Chippewa National Forest for the detailed forest inventory data and associated GIS maps. The project is part of the ongoing forestry research program of the University of Minnesota North Central Research and Outreach Center and the Interagency Information Cooperative of the Department of Forest Resources Department of the University of Minnesota. This study was funded jointly by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, the University of Minnesota North Central Research and Outreach Center and the Interagency Information Cooperative of the Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.
© The Author(s). 2019.
- Core area
- Harvest scheduling
- Interior space
- Landscape planning
- Multiple objective planning
- Patch size
- Production possibilities frontier
- Trade-off analysis