Evaluating the effects of alternative forest management plans under various physiographic settings using historical records as a reference

Yangjian Zhang, Hong S. He, Stephen R. Shifley, Jian Yang, Brian J. Palik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Using historical General Land Office record as a reference, this study employed a landscape-scale disturbance and succession model to estimate the future cumulative effects of six alternative management plans on the tree species composition for various physiographic settings for the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. The results indicate that over a 200-year horizon, the relative abundance of black oak and pine species groups will decrease and the relative abundance of the white oak species group will increase, regardless of management strategy. General Land Office witness tree records provide a measure of tree species composition in the period from 1800 to 1850, prior to the large-scale influx of European settlers. Compared to the tree species composition described in the General Land Office records, the six contemporary management alternatives considered all would lead to a lower abundance of pine species, a higher abundance of red/black oak species, and a slightly higher abundance of white oak species after 200 years.Impacts of management on tree species composition varied with physiographic settings. The projected relative abundance of pine differed significantly across the five physiographic classes over the first 40 years of the simulation. In the medium term (simulation years 41-100) the projected relative pine abundance differed significantly among only four physiographic classes. In the long term (simulation years 100-200) the projected relative pine abundance differed for only one physiographic class. In contrast, differences among physiographic classes in the relative abundance of black oaks and white oaks increased over time. In general, the expected long-term differences in relative tree species abundance among six proposed alternative management plans are small compared to shifts in tree species composition that have occurred from 1850 to the present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1618-1627
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • GLO data
  • Management plan
  • Physiographic settings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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