Estimating Optimal Thinning and Rotation for Mixed-Species Timber Stands Using a Random Search Algorithm

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The problem of optimal density over time for even-aged, mixed-species stands is formulated as a nonlinear-integer programming problem with numbers of trees cut by species and diameter class as decision variables. The model is formulated using a stand-table projection growth model to predict mixed-species growth and stand-structure. Optimal thinning and final harvest age are estimated simultaneously using heuristic random search algorithms. For sample problems with two species, random search methods provide near-optimal cutting strategies with very little computer time or memory. Optimal solutions are estimated for problems with eight initial species/diameter class groups, projected for up to three discrete growth periods. Such solution methods merit further study for evaluating complex stand- and forest-level decisions. Forest Sci. 31:303-315.

Keywords: Combinatorial optimization; heuristics; integer programming; nonlinear programming; random search; stand-level optimization; stand-table projection

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Forest Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Publication date: June 1, 1985

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