On the risk of systematic drift under incoherent hierarchical forest management planning

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In theory, linkages between hierarchical forest management planning levels ensure coherent disaggregation of long-term wood supply allocation as input for short-term demand-driven harvest planning. In practice, these linkages may be ineffective, and solutions produced may be incoherent in terms of volume and value-creation potential of harvested timber. Systematic incoherence between planned and implemented forest management activities may induce drift of forest system state (i.e., divergence of planned and actual system state trajectories), thus compromising credibility and performance of the forest management planning process. We describe hierarchical forest management from a game-theoretic perspective and present an iterative two-phase model simulating interaction between long- and short-term planning processes. Using an illustrative case study, we confirm the existence of a systematic drift effect, which we attribute to ineffective linkages between long- and short-term planning. In several simulated scenarios, the planning process fails to ensure long-term wood supply sustainability, fails to reliably meet industrial fiber demand over time, and exacerbates incoherence between wood supply and fiber demand over several planning iterations. We show that manipulating linkages between long- and short-term planning processes can reduce incoherence and describe future work on game-theoretic planning process model formulations that may improve hierarchical planning process performance.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2012-0334

Affiliations: 1: Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt, Faculté de foresterie, de géographie et de géomatique, Pavillon Abitibi-Price, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1K 7P4, Canada. 2: Département de génie mécanique, Faculté de sciences et de génie, Pavillon Adrien-Pouliot, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1K 7P4, Canada. 3: Consortium de recherche FORAC, Pavillon Adrien-Pouliot, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1K 7P4, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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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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