Development of spatially feasible forest plans: a comparison of two modeling approaches
Spatial goals are becoming more frequent aspects of forest management plans as regulatory and organizational policies change in response to fisheries and wildlife concerns. The combination of green-up constraints (harvesting restrictions that prevent the cutting of adjacent units for a specified period of time) and habitat requirements for red-cockaded woodpeckers (RCW) in the southeastern U.S. suggests that spatially feasible forest plans be developed to guide management activities. We examined two modeling approaches aimed at developing management plans that had both harvest volume goals, RCW habitat, and green-up constraints. The first was a two-stage method that in one stage used linear programming to assign volume goals, and in a second stage used a tabu search – genetic algorithm heuristic technique to minimize the deviations from the volume goals while maximizing the present net revenue and addressing the RCW and green-up constraints. The second approach was a one-stage procedure where the entire management plan was developed with the tabu search – genetic algorithm heuristic technique, thus it did not use the guidance for timber volume levels provided by the LP solution. The goal was to test two modeling approaches to solving a realistic spatial harvest scheduling problem. One is where to volume goals are calculated prior to developing the spatially feasible forest plan, while the other approach simultaneously addresses the volume goals while developing the spatially feasible forest plan. The resulting forest plan from the two-stage approach was superior to that produced from the one-stage approach in terms of net present value. The main point from this analysis is that heuristic techniques may benefit from guidance provided by relaxed LP solutions in their effort to develop efficient forest management plans, particularly when both commodity production and complex spatial wildlife habitat goals are considered. Differences in the production of forest products were apparent between the two modeling approaches, which could have a significant effect on the selection of wood processing equipment and facilities.
Received 19 June 2000 Accepted 19 October 2001 Published 31 December 2001