Enhancing Linkages between Forest Management and Ecological Theory
Tuesday, August 6, 2013: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
101B, Minneapolis Convention Center
Matthew D. Potts
Matthew D. Potts
Substantial research exists on 1) active forest management and 2) basic ecological theory, but these fields are largely isolated from each other. While forest management is undoubtedly influenced by theory, the focus tends to be on decades-old concepts (e.g. succession, the intermediate disturbance hypothesis), with limited consideration of the cutting-edge theories and topics that are frequently discussed in the current non-applied ecological literature. The goal of this Organized Oral Session is to facilitate and encourage the integration of applied forest management and emerging ecological theory. Enhancing such linkages is important for improving immediate conservation outcomes as well as re-focusing theoretical inquiries on issues with greater applied relevance. Due to the simultaneous consideration of basic and applied research questions, we expect that this topic will be interesting to a very broad swatch of ESA's membership, ranging from theorists to practitioners.
We anticipate ordering the talks as follows. To provide a broad conceptual framework, we will begin the session with a discussion of forests as complex adaptive systems, encompassing general linkages to complexity science as well as examples of applications to forest management. Next, two speakers will present two different approaches to landscape-level forest management. The first will focus on predicting and managing insect outbreaks in boreal forests with the aid of process-based models, and the second will focus on maximizing biodiversity in tropical production forest landscapes via harvest plans that are informed by estimates of beta diversity. The next three talks will center on relationships between natural disturbance regimes and forest management practices. The first of these will deal with inter-specific variation in disturbance adaptations in hyper-diverse tropical forests and the resulting management challenges. The next speaker will discuss uneven-aged temperate forest management practices that emulate natural distance regimes, with a particular emphasis on the importance of utilizing brief windows of opportunity to achieve management objectives. This disturbance-themed subsection will conclude with a talk focused on incorporating uncertainty into conservation-oriented decision-making processes, using examples related to fire management in temperate conifer forests. The next speaker will consider ways in which forest restoration strategies might be improved by an enhanced understanding of ecological processes, including a specific assessment of applied nucleation in degraded tropical landscapes. Finally, the session will conclude with a discussion of the relevance of broad macroecological principles to specific forests and management objectives.