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Economic and Fragmentation Effects of Clearcut Restrictions

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Clearcut restrictions limiting individual clearcut size affect economic outputs and alter the spatial distribution of wildlife habitat over the landscape. Simulations of different clearcutting restrictions were applied to a 47,500 ha mixed-ownership landscape in the Sierra Nevada of California. The private owner was assumed to pursue a goal of maximizing net present value (NPV), while the public owner was assumed to use a combination of low-intensity selection harvesting and long rotations to develop late-seral habitat. With a 10 yr exclusion period, maximum clearcut size limits of 4 and 32 ha reduced the private owner's NPV to 79% and 91% of the unconstrained maximum, respectively; with a 20 yr exclusion period, to 65% and 88% of the unconstrained maximum. Initially, smaller clearcut size limits resulted in more mature forest [average stand diameter (ASD) greater than 30 cm], but with greater fragmentation. Ultimately, late-seral habitat (ASD > 61 cm) was insensitive to clearcut size limits because rotation lengths of 60 or 90 yr did not produce that habitat class for most forest types. For. Sci. 44(4):569-577.

Keywords: GIS; adjacency constraints; forest practice regulations; landscape ecology

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor Emeritus of Forest Management, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, 145 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114--Phone: (510) 642-6489;, Fax: (510) 643-5438

Publication date: November 1, 1998

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