Effects of parcelization and land divestiture on forest sustainability in simulated forest landscapes
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Forest Ecology and Management. 236: 305?314.
Ownership parcelization of forest land and divestiture of industrial forest land is increasing throughout the U.S. This may affect (positively or negatively) the ability of forested landscapes to produce benefits that society values, such as fiber, biodiversity and recreation. We used a timber harvest simulator and neutral model landscapes to systematically study how parcelization and divestiture affect measures of forest composition and fragmentation, timber production and public access. We studied parcelization effects by systematically varying the probability that ownerships would be parcelized at three different spatial scales (9216, 256, 16 ha).We found that parcelization of industrial landscapes significantly increased most measures of forest fragmentation, but did not affect measures of forest composition. Parcelization did not reduce the volume of wood extracted or the area of land available for public recreation, but it did reduce the patch size of land open for recreational use.We studied divestiture effects by systematically varying the proportions of two industrial owners with concurrent changes in the proportion of non-industrial private forest owners (NIPF).We also simulated conversion of NIPF forest land to developed uses. The effect of divestiture depends on which owner is divesting, with the owner that has the most unique effect on a given response variable having the greatest influence. The industrial owner that emphasized even-aged silvicultural techniques had the greatest effect on age class characteristics. The industrial owner that practiced some conversion of other forest types to northern hardwood influenced some cover type characteristics. The proportion of NIPF had the greatest effect on the temporal trend of fragmentation because of conversion of some forest to developed uses. Divestiture of industrial land caused up to a 55% reduction in the volume of wood extracted and reduced the area and patch size of land available for public recreation.
Keywordstimber management; ownership parcelization; landscape pattern; HARVEST simulation model; sustainable forestry; forest products industry
Gustafson, Eric J.; Loehle, Craig. 2006. Effects of parcelization and land divestiture on forest sustainability in simulated forest landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management. 236: 305?314.