Large-scale dynamics of a heterogeneous forest resource are driven jointly by geographically varying growth conditions, tree species composition and stand structure
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Forest resource projections are required as part of an appropriate framework for sustainable forest management. Suitable large-scale projection models are usually based on national forest inventory (NFI) data. However, sound projections are difficult to make for heterogeneous resources as they vary greatly with respect to the factors that are assumed to drive forest dynamics on a large spatial scale, e.g. geographically varying growth conditions (here represented by NFI regions), tree species composition (here broadleaf-dominated, conifer-dominated and broadleaf-conifer mixed stands) and stand structure (here high forest, coppice forest and high-coppice forest mixture).
• Question and objective
Our question was how does the variance of forest dynamics parameters (i.e. growth, felling and mortality, and recruitment processes) and that of 20-year forest resource projections partition between these factors (NFI region, tree species composition and stand structure), including their interactions. Our objective was to capitalise on the suitability of an existing multi-strata, diameter class matrix model for the purposes of making projections for the highly heterogeneous French forest resource.
The model was newly calibrated for the entire territory of metropolitan France based on most recent NFI data, i.e. for years 2006–2008. The forest resource was divided into strata by crossing the factors NFI region, tree species composition and stand structure. The variance partitioning of the parameters and projections was assessed based on a model sensitivity analysis.
Growth, felling and mortality varied mainly with NFI region and species composition. Recruitment varied mainly with NFI region and stand structure. All three factors caused variations in resource projections, but with unequal intensities. Factor impacts included first order and interaction effects.
We found, by considering both first order and interaction effects, that NFI region, species composition and stand structure are ecologically relevant factors that jointly drive the dynamics of a heterogeneous forest resource. Their impacts, in our study, varied depending on the forest dynamics process under consideration. Recruitment would appear to have a particularly great impact on resource changes over time.
KeywordsForest resource Forest dynamics Stratification Matrix model Tree diameter class National forest inventory
We are particularly grateful to Nicolas Picard, Sylvie Gourlet-Fleury, Frédéric Mortier and Dakis-Yaoba Ouédraogo at the French CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) for valuable discussions on forest dynamics modelling. Moreover, we thank two reviewers for constructive and helpful comments on an earlier manuscript.
Funding was provided by the French General Directorate for Education and Research DGER (Direction Générale de l'Enseignement et de la Recherche).
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