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Biotechnical Progress in Forestry: An Optimal Control Analysis

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Abstract:

A discrete time optimal control model is constructed in this paper to measure the gains from biological research expenditures in forestry. This is an extension of the timber supply model of Sedjo and Lyon (1990). We posit a production function for biotechnological improvements, which take the form of improved varieties of seeds and improved silvicultural practices. The model takes into account all the dynamic benefits from a dollar of research spending in terms of its effect on the current and future levels of technology, and of the future timber supplies resulting from the improved seeds and management practices. These separate effects are tracked in the model using state variables for the "index of technology" and for the "embodied yield index." The results of implementing the model on data for the U.S. South are reported. The empirical results indicate that biotechnical productivity gains in the range of 8 to 16% over a 25-yr period are sufficient to justify investment in biotechnology at historic levels. For. Sci. 40(1):120-141.

Keywords: Biotechnological change; optimal control; shadow value; southern pine

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, Economics, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-3530

Publication date: February 1, 1994

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