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Special Issue "Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jose G. Borges

Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +351-21-365-34-86
Fax: +351-21-364-33-38
Interests: forest management; decision support systems; operations research; forest economics
Guest Editor
Dr. Eva-Maria Nordström

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +46-907-86-82-58
Interests: forest management; multiple criteria analysis; scenario analysis; collaborative planning
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Luiz Carlos Rodriguez

University of S. Paulo, Brazil
E-Mail
Phone: +55-192-105-86-43
Fax: +55-192-105-86-01
Interests: forest management; sustainable tropical forest management; forest economics; remote sensing; LIDAR
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Thomas Seifert

University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +27-21-808-32-95
Fax: +27-21-808-36-03
Interests: forest management; growth and yield modeling; forest inventory; ecosystem services modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise a selection of papers that present recent approaches and tools for addressing the sustainability of forest management scheduling. It aims at reporting research focusing on four main topics. (1) Development of criteria and indicators for assessing the impacts of management strategies on biodiversity, on vulnerability to wildfires, on product and revenue flows and on ecosystem sustainability. (2) Methods that can link traditional stand‑level approaches for forest production with a landscape‑level approach that targets spatial structures associated with ecological functioning and sustainable supply of forest-based services. (3) Methods that may help assess risk and uncertainty as well as trade-offs between ecosystem services to develop sustainable forest ecosystem management plans. (4) Decision support systems as platforms for the transfer of technology and knowledge of forest ecosystems in a way that is understandable to everyone, thus addressing participatory planning concerns. Bringing together research on topics (1) to (4) may contribute to an innovative interdisciplinary approach to help realize the potential of sustainable forest ecosystem management and policy analysis. This Special Issue is thus sponsored by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO Unit 4.04.04—Sustainable Forest Management Scheduling). Papers submitted for publication in this Special Issue will undergo a rigorous peer review process with the aim of prompt and wide dissemination of research results and applications.

Prof. Dr. Jose G Borges
Dr. Eva-Maria Nordström
Prof. Dr. Luiz Carlos Rodriguez
Prof. Dr. Thomas Seifert
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • forest ecosystem management
  • forest models
  • forest economics
  • management science
  • operations research
  • land use planning
  • sustainability
  • decision support systems
  • forest ecosystem services

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Decomposition Analysis of Forest Ecosystem Services Values
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 687; doi:10.3390/su9050687
Received: 11 November 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 22 April 2017 / Published: 26 April 2017
PDF Full-text (2505 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Forest ecosystem services are fundamental for human life. To protect and increase forest ecosystem services, the driving factors underlying changes in forest ecosystem service values must be determined to properly implement forest resource management planning. This study examines the driving factors that affect
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Forest ecosystem services are fundamental for human life. To protect and increase forest ecosystem services, the driving factors underlying changes in forest ecosystem service values must be determined to properly implement forest resource management planning. This study examines the driving factors that affect changes in forest ecosystem service values by focusing on regional forest characteristics using a dataset of 47 prefectures in Japan for 2000, 2007, and 2012. We applied two approaches: a contingent valuation method for estimating the forest ecosystem service value per area and a decomposition analysis for identifying the main driving factors of changes in the value of forest ecosystem services. The results indicate that the value of forest ecosystem services has increased due to the expansion of forest area from 2000 to 2007. However, factors related to forest management and ecosystem service value per area have contributed to a decrease in the value of ecosystem services from 2000 to 2007 and from 2007 to 2012, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Toward Geodesign for Watershed Restoration on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Pacific Northwest, USA
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 678; doi:10.3390/su9050678
Received: 6 January 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 22 April 2017 / Published: 26 April 2017
PDF Full-text (3827 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Spatial decision support systems for forest management have steadily evolved over the past 20+ years in order to better address the complexities of contemporary forest management issues such as the sustainability and resilience of ecosystems on forested landscapes. In this paper, we describe
[...] Read more.
Spatial decision support systems for forest management have steadily evolved over the past 20+ years in order to better address the complexities of contemporary forest management issues such as the sustainability and resilience of ecosystems on forested landscapes. In this paper, we describe and illustrate new features of the Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS) system that extend the system’s traditional support for landscape analysis and strategic planning to include a simple approach to feature-based tactical planning priorities. The study area for this work was the Chewaucan watershed of the Fremont-Winema National Forest, located in south-central Oregon, USA. The analysis of strategic priorities recommended five subwatersheds as being of high priority for restoration activities, based primarily on decision criteria related to the stream accessibility to headwaters and upland condition. Among high priority subwatersheds, the most common tactical action recommended was the removal of artificial barriers to fish passages. Other high priority tactical actions recommended in high priority subwatersheds to improve fish habitats were reducing the road density and restoring riparian vegetation. In the discussion, we conclude by describing how the simple tactical planning methods illustrated in this paper can be extended in EMDS to provide a more sophisticated hybrid approach to strategic and tactical planning that can evaluate alternative portfolios of designed management actions applied across landscapes. The latter planned improvement to decision support capabilities in EMDS encapsulates Carl Steinitz’s concept of geodesign. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Soil Organic Matter Responses to Anthropogenic Forest Disturbance and Land Use Change in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 379; doi:10.3390/su9030379
Received: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1354 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Anthropogenic forest disturbance and land use change (LUC) in the Amazon region is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere in Brazil, due to the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) emitted from vegetation clearance. Land use conversion associated with management
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Anthropogenic forest disturbance and land use change (LUC) in the Amazon region is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere in Brazil, due to the carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) emitted from vegetation clearance. Land use conversion associated with management practices plays a key role in the distribution and origin of C in different soil organic matter (SOM) fractions. Here, we show how changing land use systems have influenced soil C and N stocks, SOM physical fractions, and the origin of SOM in the Santarém region of the eastern Brazilian Amazon. Soil C and N stocks were calculated for the surface layer of 0–30 cm. Anthropogenic disturbances to the standing forest, such as selective logging and wildfires, led to significant declines in soil C and N stocks. However, in the long-term, the conversion of the Amazon forest to pasture did not have a noticeable effect on soil C and N stocks, presumably because of additional inputs from pasture grasses. However, the conversion to cropland did lead to reductions in soil C and N content. According to the physical fractionation of SOM, LUC altered SOM quality, but silt and clay remained the combined fraction that contributed the most to soil C storage. Our results emphasize the importance of implementing more sustainable forest management systems, whilst also calling further attention to the need for fire monitoring systems, helping to ensure the resilience of C and N stocks and sequestration in forest soils; thereby contributing towards urgently needed ongoing efforts to mitigate climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Modeling Post-Fire Mortality in Pure and Mixed Forest Stands in Portugal—A Forest Planning-Oriented Model
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 390; doi:10.3390/su9030390
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 1 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
PDF Full-text (2172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Assessing impacts of management strategies may allow designing more resistant forests to wildfires. Planning-oriented models to predict the effect of stand structure and forest composition on mortality for supporting fire-smart management decisions, and allowing its inclusion in forest management optimization systems were developed.
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Assessing impacts of management strategies may allow designing more resistant forests to wildfires. Planning-oriented models to predict the effect of stand structure and forest composition on mortality for supporting fire-smart management decisions, and allowing its inclusion in forest management optimization systems were developed. Post-fire mortality was modeled as a function of measurable forest inventory data and projections over time in 165 pure and 76 mixed forest stands in Portugal, collected by the 5th National Forest Inventory plots (NFI) plus other sample plots from ForFireS project, intercepted within 2006–2008 wildfire perimeters’ data. Presence and tree survival were obtained by examining 2450 trees from 16 species one year after the wildfire occurrence. A set of logistic regression models were developed under a three-stage modeling system: firstly multiple fixed-effects at stand-level that comprises a sub-model to predict mortality from wildfire; and another for the proportion of dead trees on stands killed by fire. At tree-level due to the nested structure of the data analyzed (trees within stands), a mixed-effect model was developed to estimate mortality among trees in a fire event. The results imply that the variation of tree mortality decreases when tree diameter at breast height increases. Moreover, the relative mortality increases with stand density, higher altitude and steeper slopes. In the same conditions, conifers are more prone to die than eucalyptus and broadleaves. Pure stands of broadleaves exhibit noticeably higher fire resistance than mixed stands of broadleaves and others species composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The MIMOSE Approach to Support Sustainable Forest Management Planning at Regional Scale in Mediterranean Contexts
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 316; doi:10.3390/su9020316
Received: 19 December 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (10401 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent decades, Mediterranean landscapes have been affected by human-induced drivers, such as land use and climate change. Forest ecosystems and landscapes have been particularly affected in mountainous regions due to limited management and stewardship, especially in remote areas. Therefore, there is a
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In recent decades, Mediterranean landscapes have been affected by human-induced drivers, such as land use and climate change. Forest ecosystems and landscapes have been particularly affected in mountainous regions due to limited management and stewardship, especially in remote areas. Therefore, there is a need to set up new strategies to enhance ecosystem services in forested areas which, in turn, will benefit local communities and economies. In this study, we implemented a new approach—Multiscale Mapping of Ecosystem Services (MIMOSE)—to assess ecosystem services in Mediterranean forests located in a mountainous region of Italy. We spatially assessed timber provision and carbon sequestration according to three forest management strategies: business-as-usual, maximizing economic values, and prioritizing conservation. Sustainable strategies for forest planning were identified at the landscape scale. We found that (i) timber provision is a conflicting service, especially when adaptation strategies are promoted; (ii) the most balanced set of forest ecosystem services is achieved through prioritizing conservation; and (iii) the ecosystem services availability is enhanced by optimizing the spatial allocation of different management strategies. Our approach is suitable to support landscape planning for balancing forest ecosystem potentialities while respecting local community needs and promoting sustainable development goals in the Mediterranean area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Addressing Wildfire Risk in Forest Management Planning with Multiple Criteria Decision Making Methods
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 298; doi:10.3390/su9020298
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2613 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Wildfires impact the outcomes of forest management plans. Addressing that impact is thus critical for effective forest ecosystem management planning. This paper presents research on the use of multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods that integrate wildfire risk in planning contexts characterized by
[...] Read more.
Wildfires impact the outcomes of forest management plans. Addressing that impact is thus critical for effective forest ecosystem management planning. This paper presents research on the use of multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods that integrate wildfire risk in planning contexts characterized by multiple objectives. Specifically, an a posteriori preference modeling approach is developed that adds wildfire criteria to a set of objectives representing ecosystem services supply values. Wildfire risk criteria are derived from stand-level wildfire occurrence and damage models as well as from the characteristics of neighboring stands that may impact wildfire probability and spread. A forested landscape classified into 1976 stands is used for testing purposes. The management planning criteria include the carbon stock, harvest volumes for three forest species, the volume of the ending inventory, and resistance to wildfire risk indicators. Results show the potential of multiple criteria decision making methods to provide information about trade-offs between wildfire risk and the supply of provisioning (timber) as well as regulatory (carbon) ecosystem services. This information may contribute to the effectiveness of forest ecosystem management planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Sustaining the Joint Production of Timber and Lactarius Mushroom: A Case Study of a Forest Management Planning Unit in Northwestern Turkey
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 92; doi:10.3390/su9010092
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 11 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1206 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forest management planning focusing on sustainable supply of forest-based services such as wood and Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) is important for the sustainability of forest ecosystems over time. This study explores the development of a mushroom integrated decision support system (ETÇAPOptimization)
[...] Read more.
Forest management planning focusing on sustainable supply of forest-based services such as wood and Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) is important for the sustainability of forest ecosystems over time. This study explores the development of a mushroom integrated decision support system (ETÇAPOptimization) for multiple use forest management planning and for the analysis of long-term effects of different forest management scenarios on the joint production of timber and mushroom. The Decision Support System (DSS) integrates both mushroom and timber production derived from the same forest ecosystem using empirical models for mushroom occurrence and yield as well as for tree growth. The DSS takes further into account the spatial distribution and productivity models of Lactarius deliciosus and Lactarius salmonicolor generated for the Kızılcasu Planning unit in Northwest Turkey. Six different forest management scenarios were considered, each with a different set of objectives, e.g., maximization of both the amount and the income from timber or mushroom production. Some scenarios include further timber even flow constraints (10% fluctuation). The Net Present Value (NPV) and the amount of timber and of mushroom production were used as performance indicators to discuss and elaborate on forest dynamics under different management scenarios. The results indicated that forest management planning strategies to address the maximization of NPV from mushroom production scenarios are characterized by substantial decreases in total income from the forest due mainly to the conservation of forest areas to favor mushroom production. On the other hand, the integration of regulatory constraints into forest management plans lead to a substantial decrease of both the economic profit and the amount of forest ecosystem services, e.g., timber and mushroom. The results showed that the NPV from mushroom production can be two to three times higher than the NPV from timber production based on carefully designed management objectives and constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Using Goal-Programming to Model the Effect of Stakeholder Determined Policy and Industry Changes on the Future Management of and Ecosystem Services Provision by Ireland’s Western Peatland Forests
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 11; doi:10.3390/su9010011
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent studies have highlighted land-use conflicts between stakeholder groups in Ireland. Some of these conflicts can be attributed to European directives, designed with sustainable forest management principles in mind, but imposing incoherencies for land-owners and stakeholders at the local level. This study, using
[...] Read more.
Recent studies have highlighted land-use conflicts between stakeholder groups in Ireland. Some of these conflicts can be attributed to European directives, designed with sustainable forest management principles in mind, but imposing incoherencies for land-owners and stakeholders at the local level. This study, using Ireland’s Western Peatland forests as a case study area, focused on the development and implementation of a goal programming model capable of analysing the long term impact of policy and industry changes at the landscape level. The model captures the essential aspects of the changes identified by local level stakeholders as influencing forest management in Ireland and determines the future impact of these changes on ecosystem services provisions. Initially, a business as usual potential future is generated. This is used as a baseline against which to compare the impact of industry and policy changes. The model output indicated that the current forest composition is only really suited to satisfy a single, financial objective for forest management. The goal programming model analysed multiple objectives simultaneously and the results indicated that the stakeholders’ desired ecosystem service provisions in the future will be more closely met by diversifying the forest estate and/or by changing to an alternative, non-forest land-use on less productive areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Applying Data Envelopment Analysis and Grey Model for the Productivity Evaluation of Vietnamese Agroforestry Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1139; doi:10.3390/su8111139
Received: 12 June 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture and forestry play important roles in Vietnam, particularly as they contribute to the creation of food, conservation of forest resources, and improvement of soil fertility. Therefore, understanding the performances of relevant enterprises in this field contributes to the sustainable development of this
[...] Read more.
Agriculture and forestry play important roles in Vietnam, particularly as they contribute to the creation of food, conservation of forest resources, and improvement of soil fertility. Therefore, understanding the performances of relevant enterprises in this field contributes to the sustainable development of this country’s agroforestry industry. This research proposes a hybrid model, which includes a grey model (GM) and a Malmquist productivity index (MPI), to assess the performances of Vietnamese agroforestry enterprises over several time periods. After collecting the data of selected input and output variables for 10 Vietnam agroforestry enterprises in the period of 2011–2014, GM is used to forecast the future values of these input and output variables for the 10 agroforestry enterprises in 2015 and 2016. Following the results of GM, the MPI is used to measure the performance of these enterprises. The MPI scores showed some enterprises will become more efficient, while others will become less efficient. The proposed model gives past–present–future insights in order for decision-makers to sustain agroforestry development in Vietnam. This hybrid approach can be applied to performance analysis of other industries as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Urban Forest Structure, Ecosystem Services, and Economic Benefits on Vacant Land
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 679; doi:10.3390/su8070679
Received: 5 March 2016 / Revised: 8 July 2016 / Accepted: 13 July 2016 / Published: 16 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3354 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An urban forest assessment is essential for developing a baseline from which to measure changes and trends. The most precise way to assess urban forests is to measure and record every tree on a site, but although this may work well for relatively
[...] Read more.
An urban forest assessment is essential for developing a baseline from which to measure changes and trends. The most precise way to assess urban forests is to measure and record every tree on a site, but although this may work well for relatively small populations (e.g., street trees, small parks), it is prohibitively expensive for large tree populations. Thus, random sampling offers a cost-effective way to assess urban forest structure and the associated ecosystem services for large-scale assessments. The methodology applied to assess ecosystem services in this study can also be used to assess the ecosystem services provided by vacant land in other urban contexts and improve urban forest policies, planning, and the management of vacant land. The study’s findings support the inclusion of trees on vacant land and contribute to a new vision of vacant land as a valuable ecological resource by demonstrating how green infrastructure can be used to enhance ecosystem health and promote a better quality of life for city residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Decision Support Tools and Strategies to Simulate Forest Landscape Evolutions Integrating Forest Owner Behaviour: A Review from the Case Studies of the European Project, INTEGRAL
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 599; doi:10.3390/su9040599
Received: 16 December 2016 / Revised: 31 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
PDF Full-text (1718 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For forest sustainability and vulnerability assessment, the landscape scale is considered to be more and more relevant as the stand level approaches its known limitations. This review, which describes the main forest landscape simulation tools used in the 20 European case studies of
[...] Read more.
For forest sustainability and vulnerability assessment, the landscape scale is considered to be more and more relevant as the stand level approaches its known limitations. This review, which describes the main forest landscape simulation tools used in the 20 European case studies of the European project “Future-oriented integrated management of European forest landscapes” (INTEGRAL), gives an update on existing decision support tools to run landscape simulation from Mediterranean to boreal ecosystems. The main growth models and software available in Europe are described, and the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches are discussed. Trades-offs between input efforts and output are illustrated. Recommendations for the selection of a forest landscape simulator are given. The paper concludes by describing the need to have tools that are able to cope with climate change and the need to build more robust indicators for assessment of forest landscape sustainability and vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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