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A Web-Based Decision Support System for Analyzing Timber Harvesting Costs and Productivity

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An interactive web-based decision support system (DSS) was developed to assist the analysis of harvesting costs and productivity of roundwood operations in the Appalachian region. The DSS was designed using the ASP.NET platform via the VB.NET language and Microsoft (MS) SQL server. Three web pages were created: a main page for system configuration and simulation, a machine rate page for computing the handling machine costs requested by the main page, and a summary page for displaying all results. Stands, machines, and harvesting systems were modeled using previously published time and motion studies. An MS SQL server was used to retrieve the default information, to save the running results, and to populate the summary tables. A mathematical algorithm was designed to balance the harvesting system based on the machine productivity and use rates. The DSS was used to run three central Appalachian hardwood region‐based simulations. The first simulation system was a chainsaw/cable skidder, the second was a feller-buncher/grapple skidder, and the final harvesting system used a harvester/forwarder. The simulation results were summarized including hourly machine rates and costs, system rate/cost, and the expected production rate for each harvesting system. The innovative DSS provides useful harvesting management decisionmaking information for loggers.
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Keywords: decision support system; forest operations; system analysis; timber harvesting

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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