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The Landscape Management System


The Landscape Management System (LMS) is grounded in the ecological theory of "constant change" (Botkin 1990, Sprugel 1991). This theory is based upon observations that periodic disturbances destroy large and small patches which regrow through a succession of structural stages. As the structure of a patch changes through growth and disturbance, plant and wildlife populations change through migration, growth, dormancy and death. Historically all forest structures were represented across large landscapes on a fluctuating basis. The landscape management simulation mimics these natural disturbances and provides a dynamic balance of stands in various structural stages, providing habitats for a diversity of plant and wildlife species. A variety of field operations such as thinning, even-aged and uneven-aged harvesting, snag creation and replanting controls the balance of structures and provides products to satisfy the economic goals of a forest management plan.

Data Management

Data manipulation in LMS is done with Microsoft software that integrates landscape-level spatial information, stand-level inventory data, regionally specific growth models and computer visualization software to assist in the decision making process. The specific processes for these outputs were developed through a joint effort of the University of Washington, College of Forest Resources, Washington State University and the US Forest Service.

Visit http://lms.cfr.washington.edu/ and


LMS allows the simulation of various silvicultural alternatives for a forest site for several decades into the future in order to observe the probable consequences to habitat, stand structures, timber flows, hazard risk and other objectives. The decision making process is focused on the desired outputs, whether commodity or non-commodity oriented and the inputs necessary to achieve them. LMS is designed for use in conjunction with local, on-the-ground knowledge of the specific site and landscape.


Surveys have shown that over 50% of non-industrial private forest landowners manage for values other than maximizing profits. Although their forests remain an important source of economic value, these owners place great emphasis on conserving wildlife, aesthetic and functional values of the natural forest ecosystem. Utilizing LMS, these landowners will be able to perform an in-depth analysis of specific consequences and tradeoffs of various forest management alternatives.

Research indicates that a Forest Management Plan developed through LMS can achieve 82% of the maximum net present value of timber, as well as maximized long-term sustainable income. Management alternatives combined with the financial incentive provided by carbon credits could bring the net present value up to or near 100%, making a biodiversity approach the preferred method of forest management.


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