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Seeing the Future Impacts of Climate Change and Forest Management: a Landscape Visualization System for Forest Managers

posted Dec 8, 2016, 11:30 AM by Melissa Lucash   [ updated Dec 8, 2016, 11:30 AM ]
A new GTR was released today which describes LandViz, the new visualization tool for LANDIS output.  

Full citation: Gustafson, Eric; Lucash, Melissa; Liem, Johannes; Jenny, Helen; Scheller, Robert; Barrett, Kelly; Sturtevant, Brian. 2016. Seeing the future impacts of climate change and forest management: a landscape visualization system for forest managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-164. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 18 p.

Forest managers are increasingly considering how climate change may alter forests’ capacity to provide ecosystem goods and services. But identifying potential climate change effects on forests is difficult because interactions among forest growth and mortality, climate change, management, and disturbances are complex and uncertain. Although forest landscape models can account for most factors that structure forest landscapes (including climate change), the sometimes overwhelming amount of output from these models can make it hard for some managers to interpret and understand the projections. In an effort to help managers visualize and analyze model output, we developed an intuitive Web-based system: LandViz. We applied LandViz in a collaborative, iterative approach to conduct a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota using the LANDIS-II landscape model. LandViz enhanced managers’ collaboration with model experts and increased their understanding of the tradeoffs between amounts and types of various resources in a changing climate. Managers can use the insight gained from LandViz to inform their strategic and tactical planning as they manage these tradeoffs.