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A Model and Tabu Search Method to Optimize Stand Harvest and Road Construction Schedules

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An important function of tactical planning in forest management is to choose spatially and temporally explicit schedules for both harvesting and road construction activities. In addition to maintaining consistency with goals of the strategic planning process, harvesting decisions are subjected to spatial, environmental constraints. At the same time, planning and cost of road access over the medium-term planning horizon must be considered.

This article presents a model and heuristic solution methodology to address stand level harvest scheduling and the associated road construction scheduling problem. The model is formulated to determine minimal cost schedules, for stand harvests and road construction, that achieve recommended timber harvest volume targets and that comply with environmental regulations. The harvest decisions are made at the stand level of resolution. Graph structures are used to formulate the spatial restrictions on clearcut opening size and location. Road construction projects are scheduled to create a feasible road network at minimum net present capital cost.

The optimization problem is solved using a Tabu search heuristic, which includes special constructs to cope with the complexity of this problem. An efficient frontier of solutions is produced, which may be utilized to analyze tradeoffs between lost forest productivity, due to timing of harvests, and the capital cost of road construction. Forest Science 46(2):188-203.
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Keywords: Heuristic; forest management; road networks; spatial constraints; tactical planning; tradeoff analysis

Document Type: Special Article

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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  • Important Notice: SAF's journals are now published through partnership with the Oxford University Press. Access to archived material will be available here on the Ingenta website until March 31, 2018. For new material, please access the journals via OUP's website. Note that access via Ingenta will be permanently discontinued after March 31, 2018. Members requiring support to access SAF's journals via OUP's site should contact SAF's membership department for assistance.

    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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