The Salem simulator version 2.0: a tool for predicting the productivity of pure and mixed stands and simulating management operations

Si le projet est résolument tourné vers la production d’outils pour les acteurs et leurs territoires, il permet également de finaliser des résultats de recherche. L’UR LESSEM, associée à d’autres laboratoires a publié un article qui présente le modèle Salem pour la simulation de la croissance des peuplements. Salem est le modèle utilisé par le simulateur SIMMEM pour faire évoluer chaque peuplement forestier du PNR du Massif des Bauges dans le projet PROTEST. Le code source de Salem est par ailleurs public (

Aussenac R, Pérot T, Fortin M et al. The Salem simulator version 2.0: a tool for predicting the productivity of pure and mixed stands and simulating management operations [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. Open Research Europe 2021, 1:61 (

ABSTACT – A growing body of research suggests mixed-species stands are generally more productive than pure stands. However, this effect of mixture depends on species assemblages and environmental conditions and forest managers often lack tools to assess the potential benefit of shifting from pure to mixed stands. Here we present Salem, a simulator filling this gap. Salem predicts the dynamics of pure and mixed even-aged stands and makes it possible to simulate management operations. Its purpose is to be a decision support tool for forest managers and stakeholders as well as for policy makers. It is also designed to conduct virtual experiments and help answer research questions.
In Salem, we parameterised the growth in pure stand of 12 common tree species of Europe and we assessed the effect of mixture on species growth for 24 species pairs (made up of the 12 species mentioned above). Thus, Salem makes it possible to compare the productivity of 36 different pure and mixed stands depending on environmental conditions and user-defined management strategies. Salem is essentially based on the analysis of National Forest Inventory data. A major outcome of this analysis is that we found species mixture most often increases species growth, in particular at the poorest sites. Independently from the simulator, foresters and researchers can also consider using the species-specific models that constitute Salem: the growth models including or excluding mixture effect, the bark models, the diameter distribution models, the circumference-height relationship models, as well as the volume equations for the 12 parameterised species. Salem runs on Windows, Linux, or Mac. Its user-friendly graphical user interface makes it easy to use for non-modellers. Finally, it is distributed under a LGPL license and is therefore free and open source.