|Hauhs, M; Dörwald, W; Kastner-Maresch, A; Lange, H: The role of visualization in forest growth modelling, Proc. IUFRO Congress "Empirical and Process-based models for Forest Tree and Stand Growth Simulation", Oeiras (Portugal), 21-27.9.97, 403-418 (1999)
In Central Europe the area of multi-species, uneven-aged forests is increasing. This is a silvicultural response to documented or expected changes in the physical and chemical boundary conditions of forests. Under these conditions, adaptive forestry encounters shorter and more spatially refined update cycles for the relevant experiences about forest growth. Computer-aided modelling embedded in ecosystem research has been proposed as an alternate way deriving silvicultural management decisions from process-based understanding. Modern visualisation tools are used to interpret and communicate model results for practical forestry. This "constructionist" approach of forest growth modelling has not (yet?) succeeded in substituting the missing experiences in cases of novel growth conditions or altered management goals. Ecosystems managed as continuous cover forests are especially difficult to reconstruct under this modelling paradigm. Here we propose to use visualisation techniques as an input interface for forest growth modelling. An experienced forester could interactively design a stand structure that responds to his interference as expected. Exact representation of the real stand structure is not expected and not necessary under such a regulative modelling paradigm. TRAGIC++, a prototype of such a model, demonstrates the feasibility of this approach. The processes built into this model seek to explain the potential range of height growth response prior to silvicultural interference. In such an environment, the superior human capacity of pattern recognition and classification becomes supplemented with the superior capability of computers to generate and compress such patterns. Virtual reality (VR) techniques offer a novel tool of integration non-verbal sulvicultural skills and process-level knowledge into compatible and mutually supportive cultures.