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The objective of this paper is to discuss approaches and issues related to modelling stand dynamics for multi-cohort forest management in eastern Canadian boreal forests. In these forests, the interval between wildfires can be rather long, and the development of natural forest stands may include the establishment, growth and mortality of several cohorts of trees. Later cohorts are characterised by increasing structural complexity, including spatial heterogeneity and irregular tree size distribution. A multi-cohort forest management framework has been proposed to maintain this complexity, and associated biodiversity, on the landscape. Multi-cohort forest management planning requires forecasts of the development of stands with complex structure in response to silvicultural treatment and to natural disturbance, but current stand dynamics models in the region are applicable mainly to even-aged mono-specific stands. Possible modelling approaches for complex stands include i) the adaptation of current whole-stand growth and yield models, ii) distance-independent, empirically-derived individual-tree models, such as the USDA Forest Service Forest Vegetation Simulator, and iii) distance-dependent, empirically-derived or process-oriented individual-tree models. We conclude that individual-tree models are needed because observational data for fitting whole-stand models are not available for the full array of silvicultural treatments and natural disturbances encompassed by multi-cohort forest management. Predictive accuracy is a concern with individual-tree models, and the incorporation of coarse-scale constraints into these models is a promising means to control error.
Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, 1219 Queen St. E., Sault Ste. Marie, ON, P6A 2E5, Canada
Laurentian Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, 1055 du P.E.P.S., P.O. Box 3800, Sainte-Foy, QC, G1V 4C7, Canada
University of Quebec at Abitibi-Temiscamingue, 445 Boul de l’Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC, J9X 5E4, Canada