Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y081212

    Addressing information exchange needs around analysis and decision processes that use forest estate models and their inherent linkages to habitat supply models and sustainability indicators
Project lead: Stone, Jeff (BC Ministry of Forests and Range)
Author: Stone, Jeff
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Background As demands by society on the forest increase, forest managers are asked to consider increasingly diverse objectives, some of which seem contrary. Forest estate modelling is one tool used around the globe that enables forest managers to evaluate problems that are too complex to be solved intuitively. With computational and data improvements, there has been an increasing ability and demand for forest managers and decision makers to make use of information derived from forest estate models. Forest estate models, in a simple sense, can be considered an accounting tool that provides information on the current status of the land base both spatially and temporally. Traditional use of these models has been around the wood supply outputs while meeting specified forest management objectives (e.g., visuals, landscape biodiversity, ungulate winter range). As such, in British Columbia, forest estate models (or commonly called timber supply models) have been utilized extensively in annual allowable cut decisions of forest management units by the chief forester and other decision makers. Under the traditional guise, these models are also used to inform decision makers on the timber supply implications of changes in management objectives in varied processes including land use planning, wildlife habitat area establishment, visual management, ungulate winter range, and species-at-risk. Forest estate models need not be limited to solely understanding the timber supply implications on the land base. Forest estate models are increasingly being used and further developed to provide or link directly to needed information on habitat supply and desired indicators of resource sustainability other than or in conjunction with timber supply. Similar to how forest estate models have taken information from growth and yield models to provide spatial and temporal information on timber volumes and inform allowable annual cut determinations, forest estate models can be used with models of habitat supply and other indicators. Such forest estate models that output or use as objectives habitat supply information can provide necessary to inform decision process that must also look at these objectives of sustainable forest management. Unfortunately, older forest estate models were typically not designed (due likely to computational limits) to handle outputs other than timber supply. However, newer models in conjunction with enhanced computation abilities have and are being developed that enable a broader view of the temporal and spatial dynamics of forest dynamics and management. One of BC's great goals is to lead the world in sustainable environmental management. Inherent under this goal is the expectation that we have appropriate knowledge and tools in order to meet this goal. Forest estate models are a tool that can assist with this understanding. However, there is an increasing need to understand the current state of forest estate models and how to appropriately use such models for their many uses. Resource analysts at recent “Canadian Inter-provincial Resource Analyst” meetings have identified the lack of learning and extension opportunities related specifically to forest estate modelling. Further, it was also recognized that while a need exists for learning on the technical aspects of modelling, a greater need existed around understanding of how such tools and the information derived are or could be used in decision processes. In the past 5 years habitat supply modelling, under a variety of guises, has been increasing used in British Columbia (see Stone 2000 for status in 2000 at With this increasing use, the community of practice for habitat supply modellers is starting to form but is in its early stages. Habitat supply modellers at a workshop in 2006 recognized the infancy of habitat supply model use and the need to determine how habitat supply modelling tools can be incorporated into decision processes such as those for species at risk. Specifically at this workshop, it was questioned how can habitat supply models be used within decision processes such as the chief forester’s allowable annual cut determination that currently use forest estate models. The Project To help address these needs, an international conference on forest estate modelling and its use in decision processes is to be held June 12-14, 2007 in Victoria, British Columbia. The conference will bring together up to 200 resource analysts, model developers, decision-makers, practitioners, academia, and other stakeholders for the exchange of information and ideas. The conference is designed around the 3 themes. The first theme is about the forest estate models themselves: their history, their use, and the technical aspects. The second theme is around making decisions that typically do or could use knowledge gained from forest estate model use. The third theme is around the use of forest estate models for understanding values other than timber supply (e.g., habitat supply, fire management, sustainability indicators, non-timber forest products). As suggested by the conference title, Decisions for Sustainability – Forest Estate Models for the Future, a key focus of the conference is on the decision processes to which forest estate models provide support. While the conference will provide an excellent forum for the exchange of information, the underlying emphasis of the conference is to assist with the development of a community of practice around resource analysis. The conference which is an IUFRO event has attracted abstracts to date from across Canada, the USA, and internationally. As such, this conference will be a cost effective forum for BC resource analysts and decision makers to interact with the larger global community of resource analysts and decision makers grappling with similar problems. To assist with the continuation of the information exchange and with networking of conference participants, a conference website of abstracts and other links and a discussion list will be maintained that will extend the audience beyond the 3 day event. Future activities and tools are expected to be developed but are not included in this project proposal. This Forest Science Program proposal for $10,200 will assist in ensuring the success of the conference by (1) logistical support through FORREX for final conference preparation and (2) partial funding for fixed equipment, facility charges, and printed materials. This funding will provide needed assistance around final conference logistics and ensure that the audio-visual equipment is professionally delivered. The conference is an International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) event under Divisions 4.00.00 Forest Assessment, modelling, and management and 4.04.00 Forest management planning (


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Updated August 16, 2010 

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