Predicting Forest Regeneration in the Central Appalachians Using the REGEN Expert System

Lance A. Vickers, Thomas R. Fox, David L. Loftis, David A. Boucugnani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


REGEN is an expert system designed by David Loftis to predict the future species composition of dominant and codominant stems in forest stands at the onset of stem exclusion following a proposed harvest. REGEN predictions are generated using competitive rankings for advance reproduction along with other existing stand conditions. These parameters are contained within modular REGEN knowledge bases (RKBs). To extend REGEN coverage into hardwood stands of the Central Appalachians, RKBs were developed for four site classes (xeric, subxeric, submesic, mesic) based on literature and expert opinion. Data were collected from 48 paired stands in Virginia and West Virginia to calibrate the initial RKBs. Paired stands consisted of one mature uncut hardwood stand adjacent to a regenerating clear-cut stand with similar site characteristics that was harvested within the previous 20 yr. Data from 17 additional paired stands was collected a year later to validate the performance of REGEN. Predicted values were within 4 percentage points of measured values on average, and model error was typically less than 20 percentage points for species groups. These results confirmed the suitability of REGEN to predict the future species composition of stands regenerated using the clear-cut method in the Central Appalachians of Virginia and West Virginia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-822
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Sustainable Forestry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Joint funding for this project was provided by the United States Forest Service and the Appalachian Hardwood Forest Research Alliance (AHFRA). The assistance of the following AHFRA members is greatly appreciated: Curt Hassler of AHFRA, Jay Engle and Wesley Johnson of MeadWestvaco Corportation, Doug Toothman of Western Pocahontas Properties LP, and Theresa Henderson and Jason Weinrich of The Forestland Group LLC. The authors also thank Bob Radspinner of Plum Creek Timber Company Inc., Glen Jeurgens of the Monongahela National Forest, Thomas Schuler of the Fernow Experimental Forest, and Edward Leonard of the George Washington Jefferson National Forest. The comments and suggestions of the reviewers certainly improved the quality of this article and are appreciated. REGEN is available for public download at: RKBs are available from the corresponding author.


  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • clear-cutting
  • forest management
  • hardwoods
  • harvesting
  • oak
  • regeneration model
  • silviculture
  • species composition
  • sustainable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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