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.

Keywords: Heuristic; forest management; road networks; spatial constraints; tactical planning; tradeoff analysis

Document Type: Special Article

Publication date: May 1, 2000

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