The Trevey (sounds like "tree-vee") is a system being developed, an enterprise within Rural System. Herein are the parts (over 250 elements or text units that have been fully or partially developed) and you are encouraged to suggest others. It is already in prototype form and delivered (paper copy) to the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Maryland (1996) as the basis for its environmental plan. An advanced form was proposed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for ranch and farm planning (1997), State and Private Forestry, and the US. Wildlife Refuge System but rejected by them . It is now under design and development for the private land owner.
The early concept was of the plan for a military base planning system or for a landowner (the form now being used). Each document or product provides guidance to managers who have the knowledge of local situations, expertise, and responsibility for decision making. Such decision making is typical for complex natural resource systems. Such system invariably have conflicting objectives and require tradeoffs. Decision-making for them is believed to be among the most difficult, multi-faceted, high risk, and long-term in the world. The need and the presentation here is for a dynamic modern way for providing superior plans for rural landowners. The Trevey is variously the enterprise system, the computer system, or the report produced by it. Its meaning will be clear from the use and context. Results are are designed to help landowners, developers, and others to understand their woodlands, forests, grazing lands, as well as ponds and streams and their relationship to them and the rest of their land.
The total system produces an integrated reports that can be useful to owners and managers of rural areas, especially natural resource areas. There is an emphasis on lands often called "wildlands." Abundant resources are available on advice for crops and croplands. The system is now available from the Internet and words fail to express the prose, illustrations, multi-media, and back-and-forth uses to which parts or all of the system can be put. The results have been called hypertext and hypermedia, fancy words for your ability to jump around within the materials developed for you within the system.
The advantages to land owners as well as agencies of a computer-based system for producing plans include:
- The costs are lower than can typically be provided by the conventional consultant.
- Dependability is increased. Timely responses to needs can be met.
- Needs can be addressed when advisors are unavailable (sickness, etc.).
- High convenience.
- Consistency and noted changes where appropriate.
- Constancy. A single source for all participants and owners.
- Changes in the document and prescriptions can be readily made (e.g., after detected errors or scientific discoveries, land sale, forest fires, road building).
- Protection of data and information from loss and changes in consultants and employees.
- Parts can be used separately for many different and often overlapping purposes. The entire hardcopy plan does not have to be reproduced or become the sole source of information and prescriptions.
The system is changing in concept, equations, text, format, and graphics and other media. It is a general system designed to serve many clients, giving each of them the best information and advice available for their specific objectives for their specific lands and resources. Following understanding, plans may take on special meaning for restoring and improving the productivity and profits from the land over many years.
The Trevey and its reports may also help agencies and regulatory groups understand the forests and their landowners and how to assist them in becoming a part of the invaluable forest and other natural resources of a region. These forests provide many very important services and roles, provide products, and may offer rarely-seen potentials that will be presented within this Web site.
The Trevey is a code phrase for a group of ideas, concepts, principles, procedures, hardware, software, databases, marketing, required facilities and equipment, administrative and leadership knowledge, and staff that can help improve rural land-use and resource-related decisions. It is a name for a planning system. Starting before 1995 in county planning work, some day it will combine field data (collected in a hand-held computer), regional data, computer maps, and landowner objectives in analytical and optimization programs and produce from a computer the best site-specific knowledge available based on current research and expert experience to manage forests and related lands. The results will be on a protected Internet site and may change frequently as data, equations, software, and regional information change. It will have interactive elements and characteristics of a hypertext. It will deny "plans" as dusty documents and out-of-date before they are received.
Readers will see red letters in some files marking the symbols that will be replaced by site-, owner-specific, and computed words or numbers. Progressively, each Trevey report will become more site- and time-specific as branching and linking are done among the many diverse elements available.
|The report received by the land owner offers suggestions for managing and developing the rural resources of their ownership. They are in keeping with the owners definition of his or her short and long-term objectives as communicated to the system staff and field agents. They are based on the inventories and all other information available on existing resources and land capabilities. They take into account the current economic situation and potential trends in each area.
If after careful study of the Trevey Report some conclusions seem to be in error, some statements don't seem to "make sense," or if there are other findings or change of plans or objectives, the owner should contact the staff. Comments and changes may become the key to improving the total system as well as benefitting a user and thus such comments are welcomed.
The Structure: What's Inside
The system is composed of
(1) a fundamental knowledge base - description and inventory;
(2) tabular, statistical, and other data and analyses;
(3) legal, regulatory, and policy texts;
(4) summary information;
(5) impact analyses or consequence reports;
(6) optimum solutions to multiple-use problems;
(7) ancillary products such as user texts and computer programs that can be down-loaded for intensive study of problem areas;
(8) comprehensive guidance documents;
(9) prognostic and feedforward aids;
(10) computer-aided training modules (to improve use of the results).
These all include graphics, maps, and dynamic media. The operational system is believed to provide a stable resource in the face of changing personnel and offers continuity in knowledge about local ecosystems and management policies.
Within the system, overall scores of the managed area are computed under varying conditions, thereby allowing comparisons to be made among the present conditions (described by a performance measure R) and the optimum condition, one with a score of R*. Expressions of maximum total benefits for people over the longrun that include reasosnable subsistence (but not necessarily blue-chip investment returns). In addition, there are procedures to gain wide citizen or key decision-maker inputs in a practical format. A modified benefit-to-cost algorithm is used, incorporating expert systems advances and artificial intelligence with non-linear optimization, all well placed on the land using the power of modern geographic information systems and global positioning technology.
Its separate units may be used separately. It will provide backups and in-depth instructional documents, references, and a glossary, along with optimization. Beyond analyses and description, beyond timber, the system is being created for sustained rural profits and a well-functioning ecosystem through products and services of many types. Benefits are maximized and costs minimized, subject to achieving, legally, an expected, above-bank-interest-rate-annually for 150 years (with computations sliding forward annually). Sensitive to community and diversity needs, there are other constraints that are part of the objective.
Land use systems are often so very complex that we cannot believe (or understand) the solution provided by the computers. The solution has been selected, literally, from among millions of alternatives. We shall be glad to assist you and explain the results and help you put into practice the recommendations. The staff thanks you for being involved in the analysis, for actively improving the land and water resources of the region. All of Virginia and the nation benefits when land and resources are managed well, profitably, sensitively, for the longrun. We look forward to continued productive, profitable, and exciting work together.
Its main organization (seen in the Contents) is:
- Introduction to the System (The System Context)
- Introductory and General Information (Including Feedback)
- Over-Arching and Process Elements
- Area Description ( Context of the Client's System)
- People in the Resource System
- Plants (Other than trees)
- Aquatic Systems
- Pasture and Range System
- Forest System
- Action Today for the Future (Feedforward)
A sweeping global view of the need for rural land management, particularly that of forests, grazinglands, and watersheds is presented in Philosophy: The Roots of Rural System . Laws have prompted detailed ecosystem analyses, and a library of thoughtful writers are responding to the newly recognized importance of forests and the need for their care and management.
The Trevey addresses one of the Principles of the Forest Stewardship Council (#5) encouraging
"...the efficient use of the Forest's multiple products and services to ensure economic viability and a wide range of environmental and social benefits."
As important as are forests, equally important in decisions are elements of private land ownership and management, about "farming," include optimization for crops, livestock, and other activities. These include landscape values, endangered plants, ancient forests and wilderness, outdoor recreation and tourism, and crop/garden and agroforestry benefits, and of course, structures, taxes, and inheritance topics.
The Prescription Parallel
Leopold (1949) discussed the concept of land health. It is a useful figure of speech. The land use expert, like the medical doctor, collects all of the facts and analyzes the land (develops a diagnosis) and then designs a set of alternatives or actions needed to fix problems or achieve landowner objectives. These are the prescriptions. The US Forest Service has used for years the idea of a prescription for forest stands or cutting units.
Prescriptions are the bases for decisions. Prescriptions can be taken, followed, or not. They are formal, serious advice. In the case of The Trevey, they are based on vast literature research, government data, experience of consultants, and complex ecological and environmental models. It is also based on your objectives. Its recommendations change as your land and resources change (for example, due to purchases or sales, fire, storms, harvests, and cultivation). The whole natural system, "all outdoors" is the topic addressed within the system. It is an elusive quest, never quite achieved. Even your objectives may change over the years and another analysis may be made. Minimum, unbiased, cost-effective inputs are one mark of The Trevey reports. Special economies are achieved from centralized data bases and detailed field observations recorded within field computers. There is balance in the system since an effort has been made to achieve relatively equal precision in all computations through the system. Only reasonable levels of confidence may be maintained in an environment of dynamic economics and transitions in plant and animal communities, policy, and personnel. After natural catastrophes, data must be collected and the analyses made again.
The Trevey typically contains diagnoses and prescriptions. Diagnoses are land use intelligence for the decisions about tactics and strategies to be used for the present as well as for the future. The content of the pages are very area-specific and related to your stated objectives. They are not cast into an indefinite or average environment for unknown use as are many government publications. The diagnoses are analyses and descriptions and they are the rationale for the prescriptions.Prescriptions are, have to be, like those of a medical doctor. They are clinical decisions made on unique patients with adjustments and modifications made in a discovery mode, which we call heuristically. In a sense, many staff believe that comprehensive models inclusive of as many factors as possible of the rural system and economic system (broadly defined) will give better answers to decision makers for the longrun than a very closely monitored area with abundant field checks, plots, and measures. The costs and analysical delays far exceed the current practice of rural land management. These are not requirements, only the current condition and the perception of needs and values.
In forming prescriptions, many relationships must be included. For example, the temperature section, while standing alone, is related to growing period, thus solar radiation, thus to shadows cast by topography. Factors are combined within the section on evapotranspiration and another on stream temperatures related to suitable fish production and riparian volumes. The computer code is hidden; the relations make this a comprehensive system rather than just a set of word-processor-produced pages.
The Trevey, besides providing prescriptions, can be used to assist in advertising and marketing, to educate staff, and to assist in land valuations. You will see many recommendations for novel uses of the land and for joining in alternative financial opportunities.
New hardware, software, and concepts allow a computer program to be developed that can be used to add a strong wildland component to farm plans. This project seeks to use the best concepts from previous TVA work on the WRAP system, work for the US Department of Defense, some work on a Virginia wildlife habitat system, and new knowledge bases and algorithms to provide a superior decision assistance and decision support for land owners.
Objectives and Values
The Trevey seeks to name and explain the full range of economic, esthetic and other values of a forest. If profits and other benefits are to be sustained, then the forest must be healthy and sustained. As one part of its "mission" it seeks to answer how a person making a forest delineation (as required in Maryland) would know the best parts of forests, how to decide on their rank order, and why to save this area with trees over that area, and why and how to intensively manage all of the other stands in the forest. Strangely enough, "good" is a human decision and definition. Science, obviously, is involved in measuring each forest, its characteristics, and proper comparisons, but the concepts of "quality", "good", "risk levels", "highest and best use", and "benefits over the long-run" are human concepts that do not easily yield to pure science. The Trevey applies science as well as creative processes, experience, and a dynamic knowledge base in helping people to make the important decisions about their forest. A specific valuation system is integral to the system's design.
Dual Objectives - Maximizing expected profits and the R index
Preserved forests, both public and private, will serve as one framework within which other ecological, esthetics, economic, and energetic considerations and land use decisions occur. The linkages of land and fish, of grass and air, of birds and tropical forests are now widely recognized. No act on the land is singular any longer. Each act affects other people and other lands. This recognition motivates Trevey staff and encourages efforts to select the best areas for preservation while not creating restrictions that result in significant statewide or regional net economic loss or significantly reduce future development potentials. The areas that may be preserved blend ecological and human needs, perpetuate a broad spectrum of values and services, all the while reducing future ecosystem restoration costs. Around and adjacent to these areas, superior, profitable, comprehensive long-term forest and land management is practiced.
- Profits - (1) traditional net present discounted expected value, and
(2) given the profit after year 5 A, the profit bounds are estimated and set as plus or minus 20% of that value (A plus or minus (A x 0.20)) , and profits are attempted to be sustained within these bounds. The success of the system, sustained profits, is based on the (150-year - 5 years) average squared difference in the annual profits, B, after year 5, from A. No deviations represent a perfect score. The profits score is T or
T = (1.0 - (A - B)/ A) x 100
When B is very large due to wide fluctuations or great differences from the desired 5th year starting value, then T is negative. When the deviation is small, B is small, and T approaches 100, the perfect score. Fluctuations are expected; control is expected and required for the effective manager. Diverse objectives, fluctuating markets, and natural catastrophy argue for sustained bounded profits.
- Expected Value - In one area in the Virginia coalfield, the range in annual precipitation has been from 40 to 51 inches. This difference in an 8000 acre watershed is 2.4 billion gallons of water. In the low-rainfall year there may have been an intense storm that caused more erosion than all of that produced gradually in the high precipitation year. To try to be very accurate in the face of such unpredictable difference is unwise. The Trevey concept is one of planning, of playing a reasoned game against nature so as to win most over the long run (e.g., in reduced erosion or reduced flood crests). The concept is one of looking at costs of using the land in some reasonably long planning or investment period (e.g.. 150 years) and dealing with expected returns (probable valued return x (1 - risk of failure)). Expected returns include the element of risk which can be quantified, options presented, and analyzed by decision makers. The reports are intended to assist in sizing up the risk, a number fully as important to the decision maker as acres in cover type A or inches of snow fall, or depth of soil to bedrock.
- R Index - Profits are widely reported of secondary interest for the small inductrial private forest land owner. We describe in detail elsewhere the objectives and means for owners to quantify the many dimensions of such objectives. A non-linear parametric procedure is used to match expected land productivity over time (succession or a transition production function approach) to desired owner objectives. It too minimizes the squared deviation of the actuual from the desired conditions on the land. The efffective manager with knowledge and resources, is in control of that difference.
In Maryland, as an example of interest, citizens passed the Maryland Forest Conservation Act (SB-224) along with county- and municipal-level forestry regulations, making existing forest condition and character become an integral part of the site planning process for land development. Prior to getting grading permits approved or erosion and sediment control plans, applicants must provide information on the condition of the existing forest and provide a plan for conserving the most valuable portions of the forest. The Act requires that a forest stand delineation be submitted and then forest conservation plans be submitted later in the development process. Rural System, through The Trevey and other services attempts to assist in meeting those needs in Maryland, but also to respond to a diverse, changing set of laws, rules, and information needs throughout the mid-eastern US region. It may serve as an example for other regions.
In its currently planned and partially implemented form, a report called The Trevey is presented to a landowner after the forest has been delineated with its forest stands (composed of Alpha Units). The report is produced by The Trevey System. The report is available both on the Internet at a web site and as a paper document. The report is from a word processor system having very common elements but when they are selected and combined with the characteristics of a particular tract of land, a unique report results. Landowner objectives are often unique and thus no-one gets an average report (which, on average, seem inappropriate). The report is a combination of selected information, computer simulations, and computer optimization. The results, besides information, is a set of practices and schedules that if taken will achieve the landowners objectives, given the resources of the area and the owner. If changes occur (e.g., fires, storms, land sales or purchases) the report can be reviced and new optima computed for the revised system.
The primary product of the system is a plan or plan part. Other outputs show in a variety of ways the consequences of any major land use act (for example, building a road extension). The consequences are shown in terms of the primary and secondary factors impinging on the action. The consequences of various types of approaches are traded off and combined in an R* index or resource-area system performance measure. One of several indices suggests a view of market-oriented production of a basket of commodities. The indices can be used to expand and enhance multiple-use and ecosystem management decision procedures.
A singular, generic system may produce a unique book (one rarely produced on paper because of its size and because it is readily seen at a web site in color) for each management area or unit. The electronic or internet book is like a good newspaper, out-of-date tomorrow. The Trevey shifts the emphasis from the plan to a planning system, a computer-based entity being continually updated, revised, edited, expanded, and made more interactive than the day before. An entire book may be obtained by the landowner, but chapters, tables, figures, and maps may also be retrieved from a computer screen or page printer. Ancillary products such as photographs of seeds or slides of pathogenic materials may be included. The total plan may not be (and rarely is) of interest on a particular day. A variety of other needs is met for stewardship plans, realtor work, court testimony, risk reduction, wildlife management, and estate planning. The material typically found in plans will be available on a web site. The plan would have security. The landowner would be able to call up his or her plan at any time, see color images, maps, and the latest information about the land and the plan for it. Models for components of everyone's plans are managed and improved from a central office, but each person's plan remains directed to their personal objectives.
The premises of the The Trevey are many, and they are widely used elsewhere. Its special character is in active, computer-aided integrated use of many existing "good ideas":
- Maximum information is processed from minimum data; usually each number collected is used several times in different ways. Specialized input forms on computers are used for easy entry, accuracy, and efficient analyses.
- There is a robust approach to data. Because the data and models in The Trevey can be changed, what may appear to be a lack of concern for data quality may be noted. Concern for quality is high, but through experience, both with changes in data and models, the greater concern is placed on completeness of the concept and inclusion of relevant models and factors in the area than in precise data.
We have seen emphasis on runoff to the tenth of an inch in watershed models that have ignored inches of difference in soil moisture storage and unwillingness to consider 2 to 5 inches of fog drip and dew. The perceived need is for high accuracy as well as inclusiveness -- but in realistic balance. Realistic is difficult to define, too, but it includes the notion that The Trevey is an open, dynamic system readily changed. These ideas of balance and significant figures have been discussed by Giles and others.
- Closely related to the above is The Treveyconcept of useful data. In an area as large as Virginia. (40,817 sq.mi. or 105,716 sq.km.) there are, for example, limited data on climate (about 170 stations with a long record), on soils (about 40 percent of the state), on geology (various precision, perhaps 50 percent). Many topographic maps are dated in the 1930s. The costs of this information is very great and it rarely can be gotten or afforded on a small-area or single-project basis. Thus, extrapolations have to be made to get and use many types of data. Thus, almost all projects
(1) assume that the future will be like the past (e.g., temperature and forest cover) and
(2) that things close to each other are about the same (e.g., precipitation in an area is like that reported at the nearest weather station).
We intuitively know these assumptions are wrong or at least are suspect, yet we use them regularly. In one case Anderson demonstrated significant differences in temperatures throughout one southwestern Virginia county. These differences have a major role in evapotranspiration in a watershed and can readily account for differences observed among runoff measures of different watersheds.
- Only "need-to-know" (vs. "nice-to-know") data are collected.
- There are many subsystems, but the new difference is that with continuing work, they can be linked within the Internet system and, progressively, mathematically in the system software. The parts are separate and developed as units, but designed to be linked. For example, the temperature section, standing alone, related directly to a section on stream temperature and to another on evapotranspiration. The computer code will be hidden; the relations are real and expanding as knowledge and programming ability grows.
- A working premise is that each land unit is unique.The Trevey is built with general concepts rooted in statistical sampling theory. The results have been controversial and continued dialog about them is needed. A watershed is viewed as an organism, say a cow. In learning about cows, large herds are studied and even these are assumed to be a sample or sub-population about all cows for which conclusions will be reached.Very large sample sizes are needed with highly variable systems (or organisms) like watersheds. Large sample sizes are very costly and rarely are enough studies done to meet the requirements for good conclusions based on acceptable confidence levels, tolerable error, and expected averages and variance, both among areas and years. The situation is, unfortunately, that if the same rules of statistics were applied to watersheds or forest stands, or ownerships as were applied to cows, crops, or drugs, there would be few things people could claim they "know." This is not a criticism; it is to seek to acknowledge the context or environment in which rural land analyses and prescriptions are done. The Trevey operates on the concept that more than 10 years of study would be needed in any one tract of 100 acres to know its responses well. During that time no changes (cultivation, planting. etc.) would be allowed because it would confound the results. This is usually intolerable--both the non-use and the period, for interest is usually for an answer "now." The costs of a 10-year or longer study are also likely to be excessive. i.e., also intolerable.
- Iterative improvement is a specific concept within The Trevey.This means that the future cannot be known but estimates of it are made and must be made in most land use decision-making. A Trevey run is made, looking 30 years ahead, and when appropriate. 2 or 3 years later, the same run is made, again looking 30 years ahead. In these few months or years, new knowledge will have been gained, maps completed, models developed, the price of money and objectives changed. The plan is not fixed but may change with each run. It is an effort to be the best available information at the time when a decision must be made. There may be change tomorrow, making a decision today less than good, but that is the nature of all decisions.
- Equifinality is dominant. The same endstate can result from many very different practices, procedures, and natural sequences. Trying to find, or expecting, one "true" mathematical equation for a natural outcome is unlikely. There are many biological and ecological pathways to identical natural conditions (e.g., a 10-year-old tulip poplar stand, an antlered buck, a bushel of corn per acre). . The relations in such production are rarely measured. The analysis separates the parts, the ecosystem activities unify them. Quite different conditions in a watershed can produce the same results (for example, a frozen natural north-facing surface may produce the same runoff as a compacted mine surface; or, for another example, similar results from among the 27 results of combinations of plant responses to 3 nutrients, 3 levels of soil moisture, and 3 bulk densities). This is called equifinality, a classical systems theory concept. This dominant thought accommodates variance, reduces costs, reduces required accuracy in estimating sample sizes required, and challenges many statistical assumptions about regression analyses.
- Confidence bounds on estimating sample size for most components of the system (or using prior results) are for alpha values of 0.15, not classical 0.05.
- A long planning period is used, one at least for the expected age of a mature hardwood tree. Presentations are made for for 5- year scheduling (any year plus or minus two years is the time-accuracy) with a 150-year horizon, one years sliding forward each year) are made.
- Comprehensive description and diagnosis is made. This includes Components of a Forest Stand Delineation (Especially useful in Maryland), Components of a Forest Conservation and/or Stewardship Plan, and components for Certification (by SmartWood), all on an owner's Web site (internet) for the Lasting Forests
- Comprehensive prescriptions are made following diagnosis.
- There are strong relations that exist in ecological, esthetic, environmental, economic and enforcement factors of the forest. Many factors can be approximated well based on other sets of factors.
- The Trevey is intended to integrate concepts of ecology, economics, esthetics, energetics, and enforcement in a multi-dimensional approach to major, complex land use problems through a centralized, comprehensive data base accessed directly by the system staff.
- Forests are systems, large, very complex, and part of a larger system. No computer system can contain all aspects of a forest. Very large libraries exist describing human knowledge of forests, things in them and things affecting them. The system and its results have to be assumed to be important, minimal, essential, or, as some would say, reflect "the bottom line." The stands (and other land units) and their area are based on likely species composition, density, size, condition, and age and likely dynamics. Superior site analyses of each stand and sub-unit of land are then delineated (mapped) and used to isolate stands of high quality vegetation, forest groves, and individual specimens to be considered for potential preservation in the development process.
- Unless the forest system, in total, is sustained and enhanced, then profits (even taxes) cannot be sustained indefinitely. This has been called "multi-product forestry" but staff believe that the enterprise concept is more broad and will serve well into the future.
- Often wildland profits, as in other business formats, cannot be maximum without financial investments. Typically results of a range of three investments are presented.
- Decisions are supported or assisted, not made by The Trevey. Guidance, as from NASAs "Mission Control" is provided. Only land owners or their managers "decide."
- Landscape ecology concepts are included in the system in that adjacency, nearness, and juxtaposition concepts are included. There are analyses beyond those simply made within each forest stand.
- A resource (of any type) includes the four related elements: physical (trees, rocks, water - the energy and matter) as well as changes over time, being in the right place (space), and having some variety or diversity.
- The Trevey simplifies the process of data collection and analysis, improves analyses, and reduces costs. The processes effected are the direct ones of field collection of data with GPS and using it in GIS, and analysis and the indirect ones of time, frustration, and discussions (even litigation) for everyone. It doesn't do research. Using research, is a major premise, and use is partially to demonstrate the results of literally millions of dollars invested by others in yet-unused findings. (It is a knowledge-mining operation.)
- The Treveyis dynamic, continually being edited, revised, improved, and its knowledge-base being expanded. Its presentation is being improved on the Web of the Internet. The pattern of the general system and a systems approach are used.
A sketch of the general system.
- The Trevey engages in selecting and maintaining ecologically sound forested areas (e.g., Designations needed in Maryland), but also provides a variety of net long-term benefits and services. This is a large order because "being sound" includes consideration of latitude, slope, the direction the slope faces, soil, elevation, weather and climate, and effects of seasonal differences on plants and animals. Solar radiation as well as air pollution and dozens of other present-day factors relate to historical phenomena and past land uses. Things far removed (for example, an area to which birds migrate or a volcanic eruption) can have a very local effect. Fire, wind (including hurricanes and tornadoes), snow and ice, floods, landslides, and earthquakes are also environmental factors that must be included in any complete understanding of a forest. These influences are factors even though they do not occur regularly. They have been active long before humans began colonizing North America when forests covered about half of the U.S. area. When forested areas of the region are formed or burned or there is a landslide, on these areas forests will re-grow unless only bare rock is left.
- When people attempt to select a forest or manage one along ecologically sound principles, it is essential to realize that a forest grows and typically will re-grow. There are trends, but no one can exactly predict what will occur if reforestation is left to chance or "to nature." To be "ecologically sound" is not a useful phrase since what is sound to one person is not to another. "Nature knows best", a useful general statement, is not precise enough about what will be the best forest. "Best components" of an ecosystem are those that survive, and fitness is a function of getting energy, saving it, and reproducing. Otherwise, the "best" can only be analyzed based on human needs and wants, and both the forests and human needs change surprisingly rapidly. Additionally, future forests are very much the results of past human action such as fires, grazing, and lumbering.
There is a direct connection between paper, lumber, and wood products needed and the forests. Trees must be cut to produce these products, but with wise forestry, both harvesting and reforestation, the forest can return, even better than before being logged. What may appear highly disruptive at first may be no different than a natural windfall, a fire, or a newly formed gap caused by wind in the forest canopy. The end result can be, with long-term management grounded in studies and research, the beautiful productive, profitable, forest. When well managed, the forest is a resource of wood and wood products, but one very diverse that includes wildlife, watershed protection, and many more resources, which will be described and displayed in The Trevey reports.
All forests are not subject to harvest for many reasons. Some are uneconomical, inaccessible. Some are decided to be untouched.
- The Trevey emphasizes the potentials for adding value to the land and to typical products. Logs, for example, may be the harvested item, but sawn lumber may be the unit for profit ... or sawn parts for furniture ... to produce higher returns from the same unit of output from the land.
- Many Memberships are planned and included, for example in The Foresters, all designed for profit, heightened experiences, safety, and links to other units of the ownership. The land is a work platform; all profits do not have to come directly from extraction of wood, grass, game, or fish. Membership in an organization on or using the land and related financial gains is one example.
- Membership is gained in an organization with a growing list of land units under superior management (with contacts and leads for efficient Certification under the SmartWood program if desired). Efforts are made to increase the scale of operations on land and for members.
- Replacing confusing concepts of planning (there are some 40 definitions), The Trevey unifies geographic information systems work (GIS), simulation, optimization, ecological data bases, and general information (e.g, a 100-page glossary available in electronic form) to allow the landowner (as well as future staff) to learn about the land and to make decisions appropriate for the present and to account for the effects of decisions on the future system.
Because planning is poorly defined, an alternative phrase is needed for this, a new system, that deals with describing and selecting optimum pathways to a desired future. The system presents reasonable thoughtful people with practical, cost-effective ways to that future. The name "The Trevey"denotes a dynamic, real-time system on the world wide web (WWW) that provides advice, information, and screened suggestions to responsible decision makers who are working with large, complex, diverse wildland and natural resource systems. Results of the system support and guide decisions. The Trevey is evolving to become that system.
- The Trevey shifts the emphasis from the plan to a planning system, a computer-based entity being continually updated, revised, edited, expanded, and made more interactive than the day before. An entire book may be obtained by the landowner, but chapters, tables, figures, and maps may also be retrieved from a computer screen or page printer. Ancillary products such as photographs of seeds or slides of pathogenic materials may be included. The total plan may not be (and rarely is) of interest on a particular day.
- The Trevey may help solve many major problems of land use management and provide site-specific answers in select areas of conflict. It will increase the efficiency and quality of decision making, thereby providing substantial cost and time savings to both managers and citizens throughout the regions of its use.
- The system synthesizes, seeking to unify expertise from the field, science, business, government, and industry, all directed toward the benefit of people from natural resources contained on or enhanced in the surroundings of each management unit. The unique combination of expertise incorporated in the advancing system has the potential of reducing conflicts and of encouraging cooperative efforts and partnerships that are financially beneficial, not only on but near each land unit.
- The system seeks to provide an accessible, lasting knowledge base for the concepts and principles of wildland planning, especially for a region and for individual land owners.
- Simulations of the consequences of proposed managerial decisions are used and selection of results combined with optimization, selecting the best action from among innumerable alternatives to achieve owners' objectives. Comparisons of the selected option with the existing or proposed systems now and for the future can be valuable.
- Reports on the overall status of the land and achievement of landowner objectives is itself a valuable product. It has specific value in protecting land, improving taxation, and in valuing land for sale or purchase.
- Assistance is provided for alternative media for education and for communication about the prescriptions and consequences of changing land use.
- Precision guidance and planning "documents" showing the state of the community system, proposed (or needed) changes, effects of proposed changes on the state of the system relative to the optimum, and a limited set of suggested optional actions.
- Suggested steps (a table) to improve the R index or "score" for an area, showing possible ways to reach the maximum or R* goes beyond a simple study of optima from a given set of alternatives.
More detail about The Trevey: What it does
- Collects and unifies site specific and owner-specific information
- Analyzes that information along with regional and national data
- Provides a major part of a concept of a large regional wildland use and management system. (An overview is available.)
- Develops a concept of and explanation of desired human benefits
- Relates and estimates potential human benefits from the community and its surroundings to these desired benefits
- Develops a fundamental array of generalized land uses and practices with costs
- Centers efforts on an approximate system performance measure
- Unifies a variety of information systems and brings access to managers in a useful format
- Uses new technologies in a special combination
- Is tentative, but has strong corrective, adaptive, improving, and growth forces
- Includes adaptive strategies and tactics
- Exploits "equifinality" and "substitutability" fully aware that there are often several ways to the same desired ends
- Acknowledges cooperators and participants
- Goes beyond analysis and diagnosis to prescription
- Provides trend analyses (after a few years of use)
- Uses related subsystems or modules, implementing concepts of isomorphism
- Uses the drainage basin or watershed as a unit of management, but not the only one, and grasps the new opportunities provided by Alpha units, the 10 x 10 meter pixel, each being unique in the world
- Includes ecological succession (community transition) concepts
- Provides practical research questions of high priority for answers;suggests information and knowledge gaps and thus guides and justifies future studies
- Provides appropriate security and limited access (reading and writing files)
- Includes realistic budgeting strategies
- Provides access to some relevant law and policy
- Is sensitive to regional differences
- Is sensitive to unique land use problems of an area
- Provides a missing union among personnel during periods of rapid turnover
- Provides unique algorithms for main topics of current interest such as biodiversity, sustainability, landscape ecology, ecosystem management, indicator species, old growth or ancient forests, and minimum viable populations
- Provides communication of the plan as part of the planning process, helping citizens integrate the technical aspects of management with political, social, economic and personal factors
- Helps citizens to make sense of the confusing array of facts, falsehoods, metaphors, unknowns, and value statements about the environment in general, and to understand the consequences of actions on a land unit
- Includes international dimensions related to education, transfer of technology, and cooperative management in animal-related, migration-related areas.
- Includes both long- and short-term planning elements, including the 150-year horizon
- Has a theoretical and conceptual support base in a series of electronic publications (i.e., Lasting Forests)
- Seeks to provide balance, completeness, accuracy, consistency, and clarity in decision-making
- Provides a rich learning experience for users, especially managers and other people new to an area
- Provides briefing and media aids (not only for landowners and boards of directors but also for the public; including draft automated press releases)
- Places decision-making responsibilities with land owners and/or their managers
- Integrates hundreds of factors and values and presents the integration in the most understandable way possible at the time
- Preserves group memory and area history
- Provides leaders' letters - planning-progress reports to cooperators, governmental agencies, and legislators
- Attends to editorial and budgetary details
- Unifies the now-conflicting premises of centralized or dispersed planning
- Encourages relations with agencies and cooperators
The Solution Procedures
We call the procedure Trevey Heuristics. It includes:
- General Information - descriptions inventoriess, and photographs provide pride of ownership, tend to reduce risks, help suggest alternative objectives, and help detemine weights for all components of formal objectives. Efforts are made to address notable areas of conflict and information needs, specific and general, such as those in the table.
- The pond, lake, and reservoir fisheries
- The stream fishery
- Landscape patterns and corridors (Harris 1984, Forman and Godron 1986)
- Old growth and ancient forests
- Public participation
- Other areas of conflict and resolution among objectives include:
- urban energy conservation
- outdoor recreation
- parkland development
- integrated pest damage management
- hunting opportunities
- fishing recreation
- community history
- community goals and objectives
- soil erosion control
- street graphics and signs
- shade tree systems
- stabilizing biodiversity
- energy budgets
- water budgets
- urban sprawl
- landscape scores
- rural scenery
- air pollution
- Increasing pressures on land use.
- Changing human values and increasing diversity in preference and demand.
- Continuing, but unstable demand for community services.
- Land use limitations and poorly seen secondary effects of many actions.
- Actions in the community influencing off-community sites and resources (visual, fish, etc.).
- Legal constraints and demands.
- Diverse education and skills of community staff.
- Lack of knowledge about total systems.
- Rapidly changing technology and changing expectations.
- Changing real land value.
- Increasing importance of public lands due to limitations and over use of private lands.
- Uncertainties in the reality of and consequences of global warming, acid rain, and ozone depletion.
- Changing soil, water, and climatic variables.
- Changing investment rates.
- Changing subsidies and controls.
- Changing markets and prices.
- Changing regulations (county, state, and international).
- Changing public awareness of needs for environmental quality.
- Changing needs for energy conservation.
- Impending fertilizer shortages.
- Changing farm size and ownership.
- Fluctuating crop storage needs.
- World food supply problems.
- Frustrations caused by the gap between the technological power displayed in the moon-walk and by corporations, and current farm practice.
- Multiple objectives of landowners, often in conflict with goals and policy of others.
- Challenges to alternate use of agricultural land.
- Off-site impacts of use of land for agricultural purposes.
- The problems of the paired interactions of the above (at least 240).
In order to make decisions such as those required in Maryland of best or least bad conditions, criteria are needed. The matches of the forest and practices within it with criteria are important. Each criterion has a different weight or level of importance. How well a stand or total forest probably meets all of the criteria for some purpose or select use is the measure of the goodness of the stand and forest.
As an example of one such select use, the assumed and perceived criteria for an ancient forest or preservation stand (as needed to be specified in Maryland, but useful elsewhere) are seen in the table:
- Reasonable stand width; "thick" or greater than 3-tree-heights wide excluding corridors; excluding runners or fingers of areas with trees
- Large (greater than 6.5 acres)
- Several forest types
- High basal area (an index to or an expression of wood volume in live trees per acre)
- More than 200 stems/acre
- More than 3 dead trees (snags) per acre
- Large volume of dead and down wood on the forest floor
- High proportion of edge stands adjacent to a non-owned forest stands (of any type)
- Greater than 50% canopy closure
- Wet area present (seep, spring, pond, lake, stream, etc.)
- Moderate vegetative cover
- Free of past events such as pollution, waste dumping, severe erosion, severe burns.
As evident, deciding conditions among 12 criteria with different weights of importance can be difficult. After data are entered, the system analyzes each of the above factors and assigns each stand a value based on its characteristics and the importance of each to the long-term well-being of citizens of the region and other citizens dependent on healthy farm and wildlands, coastlines, oceans, and living conditions throughout the world.
Just as follow-ups to prescriptions and conversations are important with good physician, so too should comments, observations, and advice be made about this report to R.H. Giles (504 Rose Avenue, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060). The entire system is changing. Your constructive comments can influence its future improvements for the good of natural resources around the world.
The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this report is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by any of the parties involved in the CAPS project of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.
The Trevey analyses are based on early graduate work of James W. Teaford in developing a set of Fortran programs in his MS Thesis called HABAN in 1972. Mr. William W. Richardson did programming in 1981 and 1982. Mr. A. Blair Jones, III and Ashraful Huq completed revisions of the system and developed it for operational use on lands of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and elsewhere in 1983. Mr. Lyle Evans did programming for some of the TVA units. Mr. Michael Fies and Joe Coggin contributed substantially in its development in the mid-1980's. The system was designed by Giles. Assistance was provided from field discussions with biologists of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The work of Mr. Joe L.Coggin is especially recognized. Piecemeal financial support for the system during its extensive development and revisions has been provided by the George Washington National Forest; the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (formerly the Commission); NRCS, formerly the US Soil Conservation Service, Richmond, Virginia; Penn-Virginia Resources Corporation, Duffield, Va.; Remington Farms, Inc., Chestertown, Md.; the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Virginia Tech; the Alabama Forestry Commission, Montgomery; the U.S. Forest Service, Southeast Area State and Private Forestry, Atlanta, Georgia; the Division of Forestry, Tennessee Valley Authority, Norris, Tennessee; and finally, the private contributions of the Giles Family.
The staff hopes that you will ask for other information or ask us to clarify any part of the material here. We shall continue to try to improve the presentations.