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The Growth Simulator SILVA

Since 1989, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Hans Pretzsch, the Forest Growth Simulator Silva has been developed at the Chair of Forest Yield Science at Technische Universität München, Germany.

In the distance-depending individual-tree approach a stand is regarded as a 3-dimensional system of single trees influencing each other mutually. This approach permits the simulation of the growth development of complex structured even- and uneven-aged pure and mixed stands which is not possible with conventional means.

Despite the high spatial resolution of the growth simulator (tree compartments like crowns and stems are modelled) the information available to practical forest management is sufficient as a simulation input. This is achieved by an integrated inventory interface, a structure generator able to complete missing information, and the site-growth-model able to simulate forest growth depending on different site factors without being bound to the conventional site class determination. This flexibility allows the simulation of mixed stands.

The user has the choice of different alternatives of stand treatment regarding thinning concepts, intensities (grades) and intervals. Their effects on stand dynamics can be simulated in time steps of five years up to the maximum of 30 steps (145 years). During the simulation height and diameter increment, crown dimensions, and tree mortality are calculated for every individual tree depending on site and competition.

The results are split in three groups, covering timber production (stem frequency, timber volume, tree height, basal area, etc.), economical and structural characteristics. Timber production can be rated monetarily for both, every tree and the whole stand, by an integrated log grading algorithm based on log dimensions and a following pricing of the logs. Finally, the evaluation of forest structure and possible ecological effects can be done using a number of indices describing structure and diversity.

Silva is meant to be applied for decision support in forest and landscape management, for education of students, foresters and landscape managers, and for scientific purposes.

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