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Optimal management of uneven-aged Norway spruce stands

Tahvonen, Olli, Pukkala, Timo, Laiho, Olavi, Lähde, Erkki, Niinimäki, Sami
Forest ecology and management 2010 v.260 no.1 pp. 106-115
Picea abies, forest stands, stand management, uneven-aged management, optimization, models, data analysis, forest yields, volume, silvicultural systems, profitability, forest economics, basal area, equations
An optimization model is specified to analyze forest management without any restrictions on the forest management system. The data on forest growth comes from unique field experiments and is used to estimate a nonlinear transition matrix or size-structured model for Norway spruce. The objective function includes detailed harvesting cost specifications and the optimization problem is solved in its most general dynamic form. In optimal uneven-aged management, stand density is shown to be dominated by limitations in natural regeneration. If the goal is volume maximization, even-aged management with artificial regeneration (and thinnings from above) is superior to uneven-aged management. After including regeneration and harvesting costs, the interest rate, and the price differential between saw timber and pulpwood, uneven-aged management becomes superior to even-aged management. However, in the short term the superiority is conditional on the initial stand state.