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Optimal structure and development of uneven-aged Norway spruce forests

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Optimal harvesting of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) forests is studied applying an individual-tree model for uneven-aged management. Optimization is carried out by gradient-based, large-scale interior point methods. Assuming volume maximization and natural regeneration, it is optimal to apply uneven-aged management. Under artificial regeneration, the result is the reverse. Economically optimal solutions with a 20-year harvesting interval produce an annual sawn timber output of 4.4–2.4 m3·ha–1 depending on thermal zone and interest rate. Before harvest basal area varies between 18 and 12 m2·ha–1 and the diameter of harvested trees between 15 and 33 cm. In contrast with the classic inverted J-structure, optimal steady-state size structure resembles a serrate form. Profitability of even- and uneven-aged management is compared assuming that the initial stand state represents an optimal uneven-aged steady state. A switch to even-aged management is optimal given the most favorable growth conditions and interest rate below 1%–2%. In other cases, it is economically optimal to continue uneven-aged management although volume output remains lower than under even-aged management.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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