Land managers are often faced with balancing management activities to accomplish a diversity of objectives in complex, dynamic ecosystems. In this chapter, we present a multi-criteria decision support tool (the Future Forests Geo-Visualization Decision Support (FForGeoVDS)) designed to inform management decisions by capturing information on how climate change may impact the structure and function of forested ecosystems and how that impact varies across the landscape. This interactive tool integrates spatial outputs from various empirical models in a structured decision framework that allows users to customize weights for multiple management objectives and visualize suitability outcomes across the landscape. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate customized objective weightings designed to: (1) identify key parcels for sugarbush (Acer saccharum) conservation, (2) target state lands that may serve as hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) refugia, and (3) examine how climate change may impact forests under current and future climate scenarios. These case studies exemplify the value of considering multiple objectives in a flexible structure to best match stakeholder needs and demonstrate an important step toward using science to inform management and policy decisions.
Part of the book: New Perspectives in Forest Science