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Checking Our Foundations: Matthews' Least Cost Models Revisited

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Logging in the U.S. South at the beginning of the twentieth century was an operating unit of manufacturing and therefore treated as a cost center. Around the middle of the century, it shifted to a service provided by standalone firms operating as “for profit” businesses. The engineering economy approach of cost control from the earlier era of company logging operations continues to be used by professionals. Increasing production to distribute “fixed costs” is a key element of many cost control approaches. The most common of these, the model for identifying the point of operation where average total cost per unit is minimized, exemplified by Matthews' road spacing model, is revisited considering the complexities of the modern operating environment and the competing objectives of land management, wood supply, and for-profit contractors. South. J. Appl. For. 27(1):30–35.
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Keywords: Contractors; cost minimization; environmental management; for-profit; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; least cost; margin; models; natural resource management; natural resources; optimum; planners/planning; profit

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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