Initial Conditions and Forest Dynamics

There are six core files that play an integral role in representing inital conditions and forest dynamics in the Patchworks data model. These files provide the data structure and connectivity for Patchworks in a way that is flexible for both detailed forest stand characteristics or summations of the entire planning area. The six core files are listed in Table 5, “Core input files”.

Table 5. Core input files

File namePurpose
blocks.csv Defines initial block conditions
features.csv Define feature attributes
products.csv Define product attributes
curves.csv Describe time series attribute curves referenced by feature and products files
treatments.csv Define treatments and corresponding application rules
tracknames.csv Describes the origin of each track in terms of the original stratification variables

These six core files represent the Patchworks data model in a fully normalized relational format. Figure 177, “Patchworks entity relationship diagram” shows the relationship between the core tables in the data model. When combined together, the Patchworks model forms a fully extended table (or matrix) that is the result of linking and indexing all of these core files.

Figure 177. Patchworks entity relationship diagram

To describe the role and relationship of these files, we will first examine what the files are, what information is contained in these files and how they are related to each other. See the section called “Patchworks data model example” for a detailed example from the sample dataset that makes a tangible link from the core files to an actual forest stand dataset.

[Tip]Assembling the core data files

The core files must be assembled from your own data through a process of your choosing. If your data is well organized and has a good correspondance to the Patchworks data model, it may suffice to simply reformat your existing data.

The Patchworks toolkit contains a matrix generation program that can be used to automatically generate the core files from a recipe outlined in the ForestModel XML file. The Matrix Builder will use the XML file and the original forest inventory to create a useable dataset that adheres to the rules and relationships you define. The toolkit also contains translators to import recipes from aspatial models such as SFMM or Woodstock. See the section called “XML Forest Models”.

These core files and the ForestModel XML go hand in hand. You may want to review the XML chapter to get a basic understanding of how these files came to be and how they are associated with the original forest inventory.