Forecasting forest development through modeling based on the legacy of forest structure over the past 43 years

E.Z. Baskent, Durmus Ali Celik


Aim of study: Sustainable management of forest ecosystems requires comprehensive coverage of data to reflect both the historical legacy and the future development of forests.  This study focuses on analyzing the spatio-temporal dynamics of forests over the past 43 years to help better forecast the future development of forest under various management strategies.

Area of study: The area is situated in Karaisalı district of Adana city in the southeastern corner of Turkey.

Material and methods: The historical pattern from 1969 to 2012 was assessed with digital forest cover type maps, produced with high resolution aerial photo interpretation using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The forest development over the next 120 years was forecasted using ecosystem-based multiple use forest management model (ETÇAP) to understand the cause-effect relationships under various management strategies.

Main results: The result showed that over the past 43 years while total forest areas decreased about 1194 ha (4%), the productive forest areas increased about 5397 ha (18%) with a decrease of degraded forest (5824 ha, 20%) and increase of maquis areas (2212 ha, 7%).The forecast of forest development under traditional management strategy resulted in an unsustainable forest due to broken initial age class structure, yet generated more total harvest (11%) due to 88% relaxing of even timber flow constraint. While more volume could be harvested under traditional management conditions, the sustainability of future forest is significantly jeopardized.

Research highlights: This result trongly implies that it is essential adopting modeling techniques to understand forest dynamics and forecast the future development comprehensively.

Keywords: Forest management; simulation; optimization; forest dynamics; land use change.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2013222-03516