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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Projecting biodiversity and wood production in future forest landscapes: 15 key modeling considerations

Felton, Adam; Ranius, Thomas; Roberge, Jean-Michel; Ohman, Karin; Lamas, Tomas; Hynynen, Jari; Juutinen, Artti; Monkkonen, Mikko; Nilsson, Urban; Lundmark, Tomas; Nordin, Annika


A variety of modeling approaches can be used to project the future development of forest systems, and help to assess the implications of different management alternatives for biodiversity and ecosystem services. This diversity of approaches does however present both an opportunity and an obstacle for those trying to decide which modeling technique to apply, and interpreting the management implications of model output. Furthermore, the breadth of issues relevant to addressing key questions related to forest ecology, conservation biology, silviculture, economics, requires insights stemming from a number of distinct scientific disciplines. As forest planners, conservation ecologists, ecological economists and silviculturalists, experienced with modeling trade-offs and synergies between biodiversity and wood biomass production, we identified fifteen key considerations relevant to assessing the pros and cons of alternative modeling approaches. Specifically we identified key considerations linked to study question formulation, modeling forest dynamics, forest processes, study landscapes, spatial and temporal aspects, and the key response metrics biodiversity and wood biomass production, as well as dealing with trade-offs and uncertainties. We also provide illustrative examples from the modeling literature stemming from the key considerations assessed. We use our findings to reiterate the need for explicitly addressing and conveying the limitations and uncertainties of any modeling approach taken, and the need for interdisciplinary research efforts when addressing the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of environmental resources. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Forest dynamics; Population models; Natural resource management; Discounting; Virtual species; Sensitivity analysis

Published in

Journal of Environmental Management
2017, Volume: 197, pages: 404-414