Publication Details

Anticipating cascading change in forests: Seeking a deeper understanding of the future

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Year Published

2017

Publication

In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 2-9.

Abstract

This study used a participatory group brainstorming process called the Futures Wheel to identify and evaluate the direct and higher-order implications of this trend: Central Hardwood forests lack age-class diversity and will uniformly grow old. Five 1st-order consequences of this trend were identified: continued significant decrease in early-successional forest, continued significant increase in late-successional forest, decreased resilience to many types of forest disturbances, decrease in carbon sequestration rates, and increase in the popular perception that this is the way all forests are and should be. Twenty-five forestry professionals participated in a Futures Wheel exercise to identify 2nd- and 3rd-order implications of the five 1st orders. Participants identified 25 2nd-order and 121 3rd-order implications and scored them for likelihood and desirability. Analysis of the 2nd and 3rd orders revealed many types of implications that are relevant for policy and management interventions, including high-likelihood but strongly negative implications, and low-likelihood but strongly positive implications.

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Citation

Bengston, David N.; Dockry, Michael J.; Shifley, Stephen R. 2017. Anticipating cascading change in forests: Seeking a deeper understanding of the future. In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 2-9.

Last updated on: March 14, 2017