The FORCLIM model of forest dynamics was tested against field survey data for its ability to simulate basal area and composition of old forests across broad climatic gradients in western Oregon, USA. The model was also tested for its ability to capture successional trends in ecoregions of the west Cascade Range. It was then applied to simulate present and future (1990-2050) forest landscape dynamics of a watershed in the west Cascades. Various regimes of climate change and harvesting in the watershed were considered in the landscape application. The model was able to capture much of the variation in forest basal area and composition in western Oregon even though temperature and precipitation were the only inputs that were varied among simulated sites. The measured decline in total basal area from tall coastal forests eastward to interior steppe was matched by simulations. Changes in simulated forest dominants also approximated those in the actual data. Simulated abundances of a few minor species did not match actual abundances, however. Subsequent projections of climate change and harvest effects in a west Cascades landscape indicated no change in forest dominance as of 2050. Yet, climate-driven shifts in the distributions of some species were projected. The simulation of both stand-replacing and partial-stand disturbances across western Oregon improved agreement between simulated and actual data. Simulations with fire as an agent of partial disturbance suggested that frequent fires of low severity can alter forest composition and structure as much or more than severe fires at historic frequencies. ?? 2007 by the Ecological Society of America.
Additional Publication Details
Forest dynamics in Oregon landscapes: Evaluation and application of an individual-based model