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On the economics of optimal timber production in boreal Scots pine stands

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This study analyzes the optimal management of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands by applying recent developments in numerical optimization methods and forest production ecology. Our approach integrates a process-based, stand-level growth model and a detailed economic description of stand management. The variables optimized include the initial stand density, the number, timing, type, and intensity of thinnings, and the rotation period. A generalized pattern search is used to maximize the present value of net timber revenue over an infinite time horizon. The model adopts quality pricing, which takes branch size and quality into account, to differentiate among five different timber assortments. The analysis also covers five different site types. The results demonstrate the necessity of optimizing all of the management variables simultaneously. Given a low interest rate, optimized thinning significantly increases the rotation period, volume yield, and economic outcome. At higher interest rates, optimal rotation may be shortest under the least fertile growth conditions. The inclusion of a detailed price structure reveals that previous results concerning sensitivity to timber price and the relationship between maximum sustainable yield and economic solutions do not hold true in models that provide a more realistic description of forest management.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 21, 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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