Current issue: 54(2)
Finding an optimal solution of forest management scheduling problems with even flow constraints while addressing spatial concerns is not an easy task. Solving these combinatorial problems exactly with mixed-integer programming (MIP) methods may be infeasible or else involve excessive computational costs. This has prompted the use of heuristics. In this paper we analyze the performance of different implementations of the Simulated Annealing (SA) heuristic algorithm for solving three typical harvest scheduling problems. Typically SA consists of searching a better solution by changing one decision choice in each iteration. In forest planning this means that one treatment schedule in a single stand is changed in each iteration (i.e. one-opt move). We present a comparison of the performance of the typical implementation of SA with the new implementation where up to three decision choices are changed simultaneously in each iteration (i.e. treatment schedules are changed in more than one stand). This may allow avoiding local optimal. In addition, the impact of SA - parameters (i.e. cooling schedule and initial temperature) are tested. We compare our heuristic results with a MIP formulation. The study case is tested in a real forest with 1000 stands and a total of 213116 decision choices. The study shows that when the combinatorial problem is very large, changing simultaneously the treatment schedule in more than one stand does not improve the performance of SA. Contrarily, if we reduce the size of the problem (i.e. reduce considerably the number of alternatives per stand) the two-opt moves approach performs better.