EXTENSION OF THE FORECAST ECOSYSTEM SIMULATION MODEL: INCORPORATING MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE, FIRE, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND WILDLIFE

Over the last few years, the mountain pine beetle has shown once again that it is a powerful force of forest disturbance.  Strategies to minimize the negative impacts of this natural disturbance must be developed and incorporated into forest management plans. However, experience has shown us that for management strategies to be robust they must be developed within an ecosystem context and projected over relevant time and spatial scales. FORECAST is a stand-level, hybrid ecosystem management simulation model that acts as the foundation for the landscape-level simulation programs PFF and LLEMS, and can be used as an ecosystem-based driver of timber supply (e.g. ATLAS/FPS) and wildlife habitat supply (e.g. SIMFOR) models.  The predictive capacity of FORECAST is being increased through the addition of dynamic mountain pine beetle, fire, climate change, and wildlife habitat suitability components.  Together, these additions will greatly increase the power of FORECAST as a tool for predicting possible effects of proposed forest management activities within the context of risks of natural disturbance and possible climate change.