Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    To integrate multiple uses (mature forest and commodity production) better on forested lands, timber management strategies that cluster harvests have been proposed. One such approach clusters harvest activity in space and time, and rotates timber production zones across the landscape with a long temporal period (dynamic zoning). Dynamic zoning has been shown to increase timber production and reduce forest fragmentation by segregating uses in time without reducing the spatial extent of timber production. It is reasonable to wonder what the effect of periodic interruptions in the implementation of such as strategy might be, as would be expected in a dynamic political environment. To answer these questions, I used a timber harvest simulation model (HARVEST) to simulate a dynamic zoning harvest strategy that was periodically interrupted by changes in the spatial dispersion of harvests, by changes in timber production levels, or both. The temporal scale (period) of these interruptions had impacts related to the rate at which the forest achieved canopy closure after harvest. Spatial dynamics in harvest policies had a greater effect on the amount of forest interior and edge than did dynamics in harvest intensity. The periodically clustered scenarios always produced greater amounts of forest interior and less forest edge than did their never clustered counterparts. The results suggest that clustering of harvests produces less forest fragmentation than dispersed cutting alternatives, even in the face of a dynamic policy future. Although periodic episodes of dispersed cutting increased fragmentation, average and maximum fragmentation measures were less than if clustered harvest strategies were never implemented. Clustering may also be useful to mitigate the fragmentation effects of socially mandated increases in timber harvest levels. Implementation of spatial clustering during periods of high timber harvest rates reduced the variation in forest interior and edge through time, providing a more stable supply of forest interior habitat across the landscape.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Gustafson, Eric J. 1998. Clustering Timber Harvests and the Effects of Dynamic Forest Management Policy on Forest Fragmentation. Ecosystems. Vol. 1 no. 1.:p. 482-492. (1998)


    timber harvest, aggregation of harvests, dynamic zoning, spatial simulation model, forest interior, forest fragmentation, forest management policy, forest management planning

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page