Environmental Assessment

Environmental Management

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 646-659

First online:

Spatial Modeling of Harvest Constraints on Wood Supply Versus Wildlife Habitat Objectives

  • Robert S. RempelAffiliated withOntario Ministry of Natural Resources Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Management, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 5E1 Email author 
  • , Cynthia K. KaufmannAffiliated withFaculty of Forestry and the Forest Environment, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 5E1

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We studied the effects of spatial and temporal timber harvesting constraints on competing objectives of sustaining wildlife habitat supply and meeting timber harvest objectives in a boreal mixedwood forest. A hierarchical modeling approach was taken, where strategic and tactical level models were used to project blocking and scheduling of harvest blocks. Harvest block size and proximity, together with short- and long-term temporal constraints, were adjusted in a factorial manner to allow creation of response–surface models. A new measure of the habitat mosaic was defined to describe the emergent pattern of habitat across the landscape. These models, together with multiple linear regression, were used to provide insight on convergence or divergence between spatial objectives. For example, green-up delay (defined as time required before a harvest block adjacent to a previously logged block can be scheduled for harvest) had an adverse effect on the amount of annual harvest area that could be allocated and blocked spatially, and habitat supply responded in an opposite direction to that of wood supply, where caribou, moose wintering, and marten habitat supply increased when harvest blocks were further apart, maximum block size smaller, and both a green-up delay and mesoscale stratification were applied. Although there was no “solution space” free of conflicts, the analysis suggests that application of the mesoscale stratification, together with a diversity of harvest block sizes and a between-harvest block proximity of 250 m, will perform relatively well with respect to wood supply objectives, and at the same time create a less fragmented landscape that better reflects natural forest patterns.


Wood supply Habitat supply Habitat suitability modeling Spatial constraint modeling Landscape pattern Forest management Tradeoff analysis Marten Woodland caribou Moose Ovenbird