This paper is a comprehensive review of spatial forest-planning initiative that has been carried out in forest-management planning over the last 2 decades. It describes, first of all, the conceptual framework of spatial forest planning by identifying spatial and non-spatial forest-planning concepts. The paper focuses on the spatial considerations or problems of spatial configuration of patches including their size (opening size) and distribution, shape, adjacency or green-up delay, connectivity, proximity, and core area that make the conventional forest-management planning "spatial" powered by geographical information systems (GIS). Then, the paper explains various management approaches to conceptualize the spatial forest planning and analytical decision-making techniques, such as simulation, mathematical optimization and meta-heuristic techniques to solve the spatial forest management problem. It also provides information to measure the performance of various meta-heuristic techniques, when solving large-scale spatial problems. Also, some apparent new requirements, important needs for spatial forest planning, and important unresolved problems in spatial forest planning are identified. In conclusion, development of a hybrid-modeling technique, identification of target landscape structure, characterization of various forest values, such as biodiversity, water production, recreation, visual quality, erosion control, and an enthusiasm to implement the approach are identified important future development to spatial forest modeling. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.