Harvesting Loblolly Pine Plantations with Hardwood Competition and Stochastic Prices
Abstract:This paper presents numerical results of the effects of stochastic stumpage prices on economic optimal thinnings and rotation ages for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The numerical results are obtained with a dynamic programming model that provides optimal harvest levels as a function of price, stand density, and age. For numerical tractability the network is relatively coarse with a 5-year decision cycle and 50 trees/ac intervals for the harvest control variable. Sawtimber and pulpwood stumpage price probabilities are assumed to be independent and stationary and are based on the means and variances of past price observations. Optimal full-rotation management strategies for both pure and mixed-species plantations show that sawtimber and pulpwood price variation do not affect the timing and intensity of early commercial thinning. Stumpage price variation does affect the timing of dearcutting. Gains in present value are made by timing the clearcut to a period with high sawtimber stumpage price. Results on the effects of hardwood competition show that the opportunity cost of hardwood competition that persists through one rotation is higher than the cost of eliminating the hardwoods early on. The effects of restrictions in the size of the dynamic programming network and the stationarity assumptions in the stochastic price processes are discussed. For. Sci. 37(5):1266-1282.
Document Type: Journal Article
Affiliations: Assistant Professor, Department of Forestry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27650
Publication date: November 1, 1991
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