WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
Forest management of today not only aims at profitable wood production, but also the production of many other goods and services. Besides timber, we want to utilize the forests for forest fuel production, recreation, and as a carbon sink, whilst at the same time preserving biodiversity. Forest management and other direct and indirect influences make up a complex web where different stakeholders have different visions concerning the future of the forests. From the environmentalist´s point of view, timber production is seen as a negative effect on the forest ecosystem, whilst the forestry companies defend the timber production potential. Contrary to the situation some decades ago, there is an increasing concordance today concerning the multiple resources provided by forests. Still there are conflicts – partly based on lack of knowledge and a lack of a comprehensive view of the dynamics of forests. Integrated decision support systems for comprehensive analysis of total effects of different management options are lacking.
HOW CAN THE PROGRAMME CONTRIBUTE TO A SOLUTION?
The Heureka research programme develops a computerized decision support system for short and long-term analysis. Knowledge from different disciplines is integrated, making up a forecasting system in which multiple use and environmental aspects can be handled. In the system, forest resources and functions are described given different management scenarios and other influences. The core in the Heureka system is made up by projection models of the tree cover. Linked to these models, different models describe the conditions for and output of other utilities. Here, the concept utility is used as a collective term for goods and services produced by forests. The starting point is that these factors are valued by humans, although not in all cases in monetary terms. The utilities to be handled in the first face of the Heureka research programme are timber production, forest fuel, biodiversity, recreation, and the role of forests as carbon sink.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE RESULTS?
The Heureka system is developed to be used for the specific problem formulations users may have. This is in contrast to schematic and general advice, which is typical outcome of research programmes. The system is intended for users within small and large forestry companies as well as for national and regional (sub-national) analysis. Potential users are therefore found within the entire forest sector; industrial and non-industrial private forest owners, governmental organizations, as well as within research and education.