Optimal management of central hardwood forests under uncertainty and at large scale

Forest showing trunk and leaves of tress, Optimal Management of Central Hardwood Forests Under Uncertainty and at Large Scale research project.Optimally managing forests for multiple objectives is a century-old problem with new challenges. Recent scientific findings support that tree growth and natural disturbance regimes will likely alter under global climate change. These trends will not only impact financial returns generated by timber and nontimber products, but also critically affect ecosystem services, which is very often irreversible and sometimes disastrous. Current forest management tools are incapable of effectively dealing with these changes due to their inherent limitations. Although there exist some methods for optimization under uncertainty, few can be directly adapted to forest management due to its complexity, scale, variety of objectives, and multiple stakeholders. Therefore, it is important to develop methodology specific for optimal forest management under uncertainty of global climate change. In the central hardwood region, major species shift from oaks to maples and elevated fire frequencies are predicted to take place. Management guidelines are lacking as to how to deal with these changes, for both private landowners and practitioners of public land management. Another relevant issue is the lack of participation in active management by private owners in the region, resulting in long-term concerns in forest health, timber supply, and risk management of wildland fire and invasive species. This calls for the need of quantifying economic potentials of active management.

The proposed research will fill both the methodological and empirical gaps in research of forest management. Moreover, it will provide straightforward management guideline assisting informed decisions by landowners and managers in complex situations. It will also quantify critical economic values not only motivating participation in active forest management but also assisting effective policy design.

Project Director: Dr. Mo Zhou
10/01/2018 - 09/30/2023

Learn More About Us

Eastern Hellbender salamander
USDA Awards Farmers Helping Hellbenders Project $2.7 Million in Funding

The “Farmers Helping Hellbenders” project, led by Dr. Rod Williams and Purdue...

Read More
Bitternut hickory leaves
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Bitternut Hickory

Meet the bitternut hickory or Carya cordiformis. This cousin of the pecan, has anywhere from five...

Read More
Nearshore southern Lake Michigan coastline during sunset.
Research Looks at Changes in Lake Michigan Nearshore Fish Assemblage

How has the nearshore fish assemblage in Lake Michigan changed over the last 40 years and what...

Read More
Sophomore wildlife major Emma Johnson holding a bald eagle skull, presenting her Anyone Can Bird program for the first time at Vega State Park.
FNR Field Report: Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson, a sophomore wildlife major from Luray, Virginia, had a two-fold internship as an...

Read More
A bobcat in Indiana
Researchers Develop Tools to Assess Habitat Selection, Suitability for Bobcats

Former postdoctoral researcher Landon Jones along with Drs. Rod Swihart and Pat Zollner and...

Read More
Hackberry leaves
Intro to Trees of Indiana: Hackberry

Meet the hackberry or Celtis occidentalis. This species is easily identified by its lopsided,...

Read More