Biodiversity Conservation in Commercial Boreal Forestry: The Optimal Rotation Age and Retention Tree Volume

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This article examines biodiversity conservation in commercial boreal forests. The means of promoting biodiversity are green tree retention and prolonged rotation age, which create dead and decaying wood artificially and via natural mortality, respectively. We extend the Hartman model to cover biodiversity benefits and to allow for leaving retention trees standing at the final felling. We first characterize qualitatively the socially optimal choice of the harvest volume and rotation age. We then assess empirically the optimal solution in a simulation model calibrated to the Finnish forestry for a pine stand. We find that biodiversity conservation increases the socially optimal rotation age beyond the Faustmann rotation age. The optimal volume of retention trees increases (decreases) with biodiversity valuation (timber price). The optimal retention volume is higher than suggested by the current forest management recommendations or certification systems.

Keywords: decaying and dead wood; green tree retention; rotation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • 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.
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