Additional insight into the performance of a new heuristic for solving spatially constrained forest planning problems
Zhu J., Bettinger P., Li R. (2007). Additional insight into the performance of a new heuristic for solving spatially constrained forest planning problems. Silva Fennica vol. 41 no. 4 article id 276. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.276
The raindrop method of searching a solution space for feasible and efficient forest management plans has been demonstrated as being useful under a limited set of circumstances, mainly where adjacency restrictions are accommodated using the unit restriction model. We expanded on this work and applied the model (in a modified form) to a problem that had both wood flow and area restriction adjacency constraints, then tested the problem formulation on six hypothetical forests of different sizes and age class distributions. Threshold accepting and tabu search were both applied to the problems as well. The modified raindrop method’s performance was best when applied to forests with normal age class distributions. 1-opt tabu search worked best on forests with young age class distributions. Threshold accepting and the raindrop method both performed well on forests with older age class distributions. On average, the raindrop method produced higher quality solutions for most of the problems, and in all but one case where it did not, the solutions generated were not significantly different than the heuristic that located a better solution. The advantage of the raindrop method is that it uses only two parameters and does not require extensive parameterization. The disadvantage is the amount of time it needs to solve problems with area restriction adjacency constraints. We suggest that it may be advantageous to use this heuristic on problems with relatively simple spatial forest planning constraints, and problems that do not involve young initial age class distributions. However, generalization of the performance of the raindrop method to other forest planning problems is problematic, and will require examination by those interested in pursuing this planning methodology. Given that our tests of the raindrop method are limited to a small set of URM and ARM formulations, one should view the combined set of work as additional insight into the potential performance of the method on problems of current interest to the forest planning community.
Received 29 November 2006 Accepted 21 September 2007 Published 31 December 2007