Restoring altered forest landscapes toward their ranges of natural variability (RNV) may enhance ecosystem sustainability and resiliency, but such efforts can be hampered by complex land ownership and management patterns. We evaluated restoration potential for southern-boreal forests in the ~2.1 million ha Border Lakes Region of northern Minnesota (U.S.A.) and Ontario (Canada), where spatially distinct timber harvest and fire suppression histories have differentially altered forest conditions (composition, age-class distribution, and landscape structure) among major management areas, effectively resulting in forest landscape "bifurcation." We used a forest landscape simulation model to evaluate potential for four hypotheticalmanagement and two natural disturbance scenarios to restore forest conditions and reduce bifurcation, including: (1) a current management scenario that simulated timber harvest and fire suppression practices amongmajor landowners; (2) three restoration scenarios that simulated combinations of wildland fire use and cross-boundary timber harvest designed to emulate natural disturbance patterns; (3) a historical natural disturbance scenario that simulated pre-EuroAmerican settlement fire regimes and windthrow; and (4) a contemporary fire regime that simulated fire suppression, but no timber harvest.
Shinneman, Douglas J.; Cornett, Meredith W.; Palik, Brian J. 2010. Simulating restoration strategies for a southern boreal forest landscape with complex land ownership patterns. Forest Ecology and Management. 259: 446-458.