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Assisting Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Policy Planning with the Sim4Tree Decision Support System

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

As European forest policy increasingly focuses on multiple ecosystem services and participatory decision making, forest managers and policy planners have a need for integrated, user-friendly, broad spectrum decision support systems (DSS) that address risks and uncertainties, such as climate change, in a robust way and that provide credible advice in a transparent manner, enabling effective stakeholder involvement. The Sim4Tree DSS has been accordingly developed as a user-oriented, modular and multipurpose toolbox. Sim4Tree supports strategic and tactical forestry planning by providing simulations of forest development, ecosystem services potential and economic performance through time, from a regional to a stand scale, under various management and climate regimes. Sim4Tree allows comparing the performance of different scenarios with regard to diverse criteria so as to optimize management choices. This paper explains the concept, characteristics, functionalities, components and use of the current Sim4Tree DSS v2.5, which was parameterized for the region of Flanders, Belgium, but can be flexibly adapted to allow a broader use. When considering the current challenges for forestry DSS, an effort has been made towards the participatory component and towards integration, while the lack of robustness remains Sim4Tree’s weakest point. However, its structural flexibility allows many possibilities for future improvement and extension.
Journal: Forests
ISSN: 1999-4907
Issue: 4
Volume: 6
Pages: 859 - 878
Publication year:2015