Models and Tools

Modeling Upland Hardwood Forest Dynamics

Forest Model Forest Model

Understanding and predicting how forest management activities or natural disturbances affect the compositional and structural development of forest stands is important for ecosystem restoration, forestry, and wildlife management. Working with several collaborators and partners, our scientists have developed or contributed to the development of several models and tools that predict hardwood regeneration, stand development, growth and yield, site quality, landscape- level forest dynamics, and acorn production indices including:

Regeneration and Stand Development

  • FVS (Forest Vegetation Simulator) is the USDA Forest Service's nationally supported framework for growth and yield modeling. With the use of inventory data, FVS simulates changes in forest stand structure in managed and unmanaged stands and is able to provide future estimates of volume, wildlife habitat, fire hazard, and carbon stocks. It is maintained and supported by the FVS Group within the USFS Forest Management Service Center. The Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management RWU-4157 supports research related to the validation and development of the southern variant of FVS for upland hardwood forests. Contact: Tara Keyser
  • REGEN3 is a hardwood regeneration prediction model based on both expert opinion and data from many regeneration studies. It is both intuitively reasonable and grounded in ecological concepts. The model can be used to predict regeneration outcomes tailored to individual forest stands of specific forest types. Contact: Tara Keyser
  • OAKUS (Oak Underplanting Success Program) for upland oak-hickory forests in the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas uses statistical models to predict success of underplanted northern red oak seedlings. The OAKUS website allows managers to easily and interactively solve complex, site specific underplanting problems. Contact: Marty Spetich
  • G-Hat is a system of computer programs used to predict growth and yield of Appalachian mixed hardwoods after thinning, based on a long-term mixed hardwood growth and yield data set from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.
  • Y-Pop is a stand-level growth and yield model for thinned stands of yellow-poplar based on a long-term yellow-poplar growth and yield data set from Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.
  • Earlier stand level models for yellow-poplar growth and yield are summarized in Yellow-Poplar: Characteristics and Management. Agricultural Handbook No. 583. USDA, Forest Service. 1981
  • Modeling the Effects of Harvest Alternatives on Mitigating Oak Decline in a Central Hardwood Forest. Wang, Wen J.; He, Hong S.; Spetich, Martin A.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Thompson, Frank R.; Fraser, Jacob S.: Plos One. 8(6): e66713, 2013.
  • A Large-scale Forest Landscape Model Incorporating Multi-scale Processes and Utilizing Forest Inventory Data. Wang, Wen J,;He, Hong S.; Spetich, Martin A.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Thompson, Frank R.; Larson, David R.; Fraser, Jacob S.; Yang, Jian. Ecosphere 4(9) article 106. 2013

Landscape Modeling

  • LANDIS This spatially explicit forest succession and disturbance model is used to delineate the extent and dispersion of oak decline in Arkansas under two fire regimes over a 150-year period, and establishes risk ratings for these areas. This is a further step toward precision management and planning. Contact: Marty Spetich

Other Tools

  • NED (Northeast Decision Model) is a set of Decision-Support Tools designed to assist land managers in managing forests for multiple values such as timber, wildlife, and recreation.
  • The Forest Encycolopedia is a collection of internet-based syntheses of knowledge on forestry related topics of the southern US. Developed initially to organize information for managers on oak regeneration in the southern Appalachian Mountains, the encyclopedia has been expanded to other topics related to southern forests. The Encyclopedia of Southern Appalachian Forest Ecosystems provides information on ecology and management of oak- dominated central hardwood forests.
  • Forest Service Ecoregions of US map and book This map serves as the official USFS inventory of ecosystem types. Each section includes an abstract of the climate, physiography, geologic substrate and vegetation that characterize each ecosystem. Contact: Henry McNab
    US Map
  • Landform Index (LFI) – LFI is a metric of local topographic position, such as slope position and landform (ridge, slope, or cove). LFI is strongly associated with site quality, and may be useful in forestry applications, such as determining site index and predicting the distribution and composition of forest vegetation. Contact: Henry McNab
  • Acorn Production Index – We developed predictive equations for acorn production indices based solely on the proportion of trees bearing acorns. This fast, simple method allows land managers to save time, improve index accuracy, and standardize their hard mast surveys to make them comparable at local and regional scales. Publication: Acorn Study
  • Acorn Production Estimation Across Landscapes – We used long-term acorn production data to develop predictive models of potential average annual hard mast production by five common eastern oak species, based on tree diameter and estimated crown area. Our predictive models provide a tool for estimating potential acorn production that land managers and forest planners can apply to oak inventory data to tailor estimates of potential average annual acorn production to different forest management scenarios and multiple spatial scales. Publication: Acorn production prediction models for five common oak species of the eastern United States.
  • Bent Creek Hardwood Silviculture WorkshopUniversity of Georgia Online Course and 2 day workshop.
    Contact: 828-667-5261-extension 104