Forest models are increasingly being used as research tools to better understand the mechanisms that govern the dynamics of forest ecosystems and as decision-making tools to plan forest management activities and predict the effects of disturbances. Three different types of models were reviewed: growth and yield models, process-based models, and gap models. Each model type is characterized by specific features, including model formulation, complexity of structure, state variables, and required inputs. While growth and yield models aim at predicting tree and stand growth to evaluate the effects of forest management activities, process-based and gap models focus on the simulation of processes and are more flexible for predicting the effects of changing environmental conditions or the natural course of long-term change in species composition. Therefore, when selecting a model type, the intended objectives of a model must be carefully considered.

See a/so: Biogeochemical Models; Climate Change Models; Competition and Competition Models; Empirical Models; Forest Management; Growth Models; IndividualBased Models; Landscape Modeling; Plant Competition; Plant Ecology; Plant Growth Models; Plant Physiology; Sensitivity and Uncertainty; Sensitivity, Calibration, Validation, Verification; Soil Ecology; Statistical Prediction; Structural Dynamic Models; Succession; Tree Growth.

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