Issues that can be addressed with EFISCEN are for example effects of expected changes in wood demand, forest area, forest management or increment level. Effects can be expressed in the form of various characteristics or indicators of the forest resource. Examples are tree species distribution, felling/increment ratio, age class distribution, growing stock level and carbon sequestered in biomass and soil. An example of the range of issues that have been covered can be found in the Projects (link) section.
EFISCEN is suitable for the projection of forest resources for periods up to about 50-60 years. The model is designed for large forest areas, such as provinces or countries. Application to smaller areas is possible, but there have been no studies yet to determine the minimum size and effects of scale on uncertainty of the projections. Generally, several thousand hectares could be regarded as a safe minimum.
EFISCEN has been developed for evenaged, managed forests. Deviations from this situation (e.g. unevenaged forests, unmanaged forests and shelterwood systems) make the application of EFISCEN less suitable. Furthermore, the model is currently not suited to simulate fast growing tree species with very short rotations, due to the 5-year time step. However, there have been some promising tests with a 1-year time step. The model can handle small decreases in forest area, but is not suited to deal with large-scale deforestation issues.
As with all models, uncertainties in EFISCEN depend largely on the quality of the input data. Especially a correct estimation of the increment functions is important for the model outcomes. Initial uncertainties propagate through the model with every simulated time step, and thus the overall uncertainty increases. For 10-12 time steps (50-60 years) the model is believed to give reasonable projections. With increasing projection length, observed patterns become more important than absolute values.
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