Special Issue "Advances in Decision Support for Forest Management and Policy Formulation"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Keith M. Reynolds
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, USA
Interests: developing and applying decision-support systems for environmental analysis and planning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Andres Susaeta
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0410, USA
Interests: forest management under uncertainty and risks forest optimization models; applied econometrics; climate change and forest-ecosystem services; and natural resource policy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. José G. Borges
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dr. Paul F. Hessburg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, USA
Interests: the landscape and disturbance ecology of western US forests; climate change effects on forests; wildfire resilience mechanisms; the ecology and sociology of landscape restoration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Decision support systems for forest management have been steadily evolving since about 1980 in response to growing demand from forest managers for analytical systems that can address the complexities of contemporary forest management and the tradeoffs of multiple objectives under various conditions.  Similarly, there has also been a steady shift in emphasis from stand- to landscape-level decision support, driven in part by improved ecological understanding, the need to account for patterns and processes associated with varied forest conditions, and the availability of important habitats and the provision of ecosystem services. The consideration of risks and uncertainties are inherent to forest management. Natural disturbances, such as storms, insects, wildfires, and the impacts of climate change affect forest growth and future states of the forest. Likewise, uncertainty in the timber market and government policies can affect forest management decision making. Decision support systems can integrate this information, which can aid decision-makers in clearly observing factors driving changes in ecosystems and identifying trade-offs among key components of ecosystems affected by management decisions.

Accordingly, the Editors of Forests have commissioned a 2021 Special Issue on advances in decision support systems and their application to state-of-the-art landscape solutions for forest management and policy formulation. In this initial call, manuscript proposals are invited on original research and review articles addressing:

  • Contemporary, state-of-the art decision support systems and their application, emphasizing methods and tools dealing with spatial decision support, risk and uncertainty for either forest management or policy formulation;
  • Forward-looking (and perhaps more speculative) articles on how to advance spatial decision support technologies for forest management and policy formulation beyond the current state-of-the-art.

Spatial decision support technologies have evolved on numerous pathways, including knowledge-based, probabilistic, and linear programming systems, as well as combinations of these and other technologies, so articles addressing any of these areas are welcome.

Articles addressing complex decision support topics, such as support for:

  • Adaptive forest management;
  • Risk and uncertainty;
  • Forest valuation;
  • Forest policy;
  • Forest ecosystem sustainability;
  • Forest ecosystem integrity and resilience;
  • Managing for pattern and process; and
  • Provision of ecosystem services,

are especially encouraged. We cordially invite you to submit a manuscript for this Special Issue. We are mainly looking for forest management applications, although methodological papers are also welcome.

This Special Issue is sponsored by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, research group 4.03 (Uncertainty Analysis, Computational Ecology, and Decision Support), working party 4.04.04 (Sustainable Forest Management Scheduling), Division 9 (Forest policy and economics), and research group 9.04 (Forest Resource Economics) and the Community of Practice on Forest Management Decision Support Systems (CoP ForestDSS).

Dr. Keith M. Reynolds
Dr. Andres Susaeta
Prof. Dr. Jose Borges
Prof. Dr. Harald Vacik
Dr. Paul F. Hessburg
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. Forests 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 1800 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 management
  • forest policy
  • adaptive management
  • biotic and abiotic risks
  • climate and disturbance adaptation
  • ecological models
  • ecosystem sustainability
  • ecosystem resistance and resilience
  • ecosystem pattern and process interaction
  • ecosystem services
  • geographic information systems
  • spatial and temporal planning
  • stochastic processes
  • timber markets
  • uncertainty

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
An Ecological Development Level Evaluation of the Forestry Industry in China Based on a Hybrid Ensemble Approach
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1288; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091288 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 249
Abstract
The straits of ecological development in the forestry industry and the problems existing in the industrial forestry system are currently the main focus of policy-making research in China, to alleviate the contradiction between forestry economic development and the ecological environment, as well as [...] Read more.
The straits of ecological development in the forestry industry and the problems existing in the industrial forestry system are currently the main focus of policy-making research in China, to alleviate the contradiction between forestry economic development and the ecological environment, as well as evaluate the level and trend of the ecological development in China’s forestry industry. This paper analyzed the status of ecological development in China’s forestry industry via public data, constructed a novel evaluation index system for forestry industrial ecological development, and proposed a hybrid ensemble approach combined with principal component analysis, entropy weights, and fuzzy-DEMATEL to synthetically evaluate the ecological development level and system coordination of the forestry industry in each province of China. The experimental results show that technological innovation ability is the most significant restriction for the ecological development of China’s forestry industry. Obvious regional differences in the promotion degree of ecological development and the coordination of various elements throughout the country has also been confirmed. Findings of our research could be used for promoting the green transformation and upgrading of the forestry industry, and providing targeted practical countermeasures according to local conditions for governments at all levels. Full article
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Article
Building Pareto Frontiers for Ecosystem Services Tradeoff Analysis in Forest Management Planning Integer Programs
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091244 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 410
Abstract
Decision making in modern forest management planning is challenged by the need to recognize multiple ecosystem services and to address the preferences and goals of stakeholders. This research presents an innovative a posteriori preference modeling and multi-objective integer optimization (MOIP) approach encompassing integer [...] Read more.
Decision making in modern forest management planning is challenged by the need to recognize multiple ecosystem services and to address the preferences and goals of stakeholders. This research presents an innovative a posteriori preference modeling and multi-objective integer optimization (MOIP) approach encompassing integer programming models and a new technique for generation and interactive visualization of the Pareto frontier. Due to the complexity and size of our management problems, a decomposition approach was used to build the Pareto frontier of the general problem using the Pareto frontiers of its sub-problems. The emphasis was on the approximation of convex Edgeworth–Pareto hulls (EPHs) for the sub-problems by systems of linear inequalities; the generation of Edgeworth–Pareto hulls by the convex approximation of the Pareto frontier evinced a very small discrepancy from the real integer programming solutions. The results thus highlight the possibility of generating the Pareto frontiers of large multi-objective integer problems using our approach. This research innovated the generation of Pareto frontier methods using integer programming in order to address multiple objectives, locational specificity requirements and product even-flow constraints in landscape-level management planning problems. This may contribute to enhancing the analysis of tradeoffs between ecosystem services in large-scale problems and help forest managers address effectively the demand for forest products while sustaining the provision of services in participatory management planning processes. Full article
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Article
Predicting Suitable Environments and Potential Occurrences for Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) Presl.
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1126; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081126 - 22 Aug 2021
Viewed by 352
Abstract
Global climate change has created a major threat to biodiversity. However, little is known about the habitat and distribution characteristics of Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) Presl., an evergreen tree growing in tropical and subtropical Asia, as well as the factors influencing its distribution. The [...] Read more.
Global climate change has created a major threat to biodiversity. However, little is known about the habitat and distribution characteristics of Cinnamomum camphora (Linn.) Presl., an evergreen tree growing in tropical and subtropical Asia, as well as the factors influencing its distribution. The present study employed Maxent and a GARP to establish a potential distribution model for the target species based on 182 known occurrence sites and 17 environmental variables. The results indicate that Maxent performed better than GARP. The mean diurnal temperature range, annual precipitation, mean air temperature of driest quarter and sunshine duration in growing season were important environmental factors influencing the distribution of C. camphora and contributed 40.9%, 23.0%, 10.5%, and 7.2% to the variation in the model contribution, respectively. Based on the models, the subtropical and temperate regions of Eastern China, where the species has been recorded, had a high suitability for this species. Under each climate change scenario, the potential geographical distribution shifted farther north and toward a higher elevation. The predicted spatial and temporal distribution patterns of this species can provide guidance for the development strategies for forest management and species protection. Full article
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Article
Solar Cycles in Salvage Logging: National Data from the Czech Republic Confirm Significant Correlation
Forests 2020, 11(9), 973; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090973 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1244
Abstract
Forest ecosystems in Europe undergo cyclic fluctuations with alternating periods of forest prosperity and disturbances. Forest disturbances are caused by large-scale calamities (climate-induced and unforeseen events) resulting in an increased volume of salvage logging. In recent decades, climate change (warming, long-term droughts, more [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystems in Europe undergo cyclic fluctuations with alternating periods of forest prosperity and disturbances. Forest disturbances are caused by large-scale calamities (climate-induced and unforeseen events) resulting in an increased volume of salvage logging. In recent decades, climate change (warming, long-term droughts, more frequent storms, bark beetle outbreaks) has contributed to an increased frequency of salvage logging. However, until now, it has not been revealed what triggers national-scale forest calamities. All of the above-mentioned natural disturbances are connected to solar activity, which is the driver of climate change. This research relates the total volume of harvested timber and salvage logging to the climate and cosmic factors in the Czech Republic, Central Europe. Data of total and salvage logging are compared with air temperatures, precipitation, extreme climatic events, sunspot areas, and cosmic ray intensities. The results document a significant effect of average annual temperatures on the total and salvage logging for the entire period of observations since 1961. A significant correlation of salvage logging to the sunspot area and cosmic ray intensity was observed. The link between salvage logging and sunspots and cosmic ray intensity is supported by spectral analysis in which a significant 11-year cycle was observed since 1973. The results also show an increasing significant effect of sunspots and cosmic ray intensity on logging in recent years in connection with synergism of extreme climate events and the subsequent bark beetle outbreaks. Space and cosmic effects are factors that substantially influence forest ecosystems. Therefore, this paper provides new knowledge about, and possible predictions of, the forest response under climate change. Full article
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