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Yield and financial analysis of "New forestry" techniques on the McDonald and Dunn Forests

Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Design
  • Ecology
  • Philosophy

Abstract

In the Pacific Northwest, a transition has begun that is shifting many practices in forest management. Traditionally, harvesting and regeneration has been done through clearcutting which removes all trees in the area being cut and plants an entirely new stand. Clearcutting is often the most efficient method for harvesting forests since implementation and other costs are kept to a minimum, while yields and revenues are maximized by removing all of the timber. Now, however, ecosystem and aesthetic concerns are directing forest management away from clearcutting, which usually impairs both, and toward other methods that are less damaging to the environment. Many of these alternative systems can be classified under the heading New Forestry." Typically, their applications involve leaving live trees on the site after a cutting, thereby creating a more diversified stand than would a clearcut. The purpose of this study was to compare the timber volumes and financial yields between New Forestry techniques and clearcutting. Two alternative systems of management were designed to represent variations on the New Forestry theme. The first was a two-story technique where the stand would consist of two distinct size classes, and all harvests would leave a few trees scattered throughout the site. The second alternative method was a group-selection system that would consist of multiple entries removing small patches of a stand at a time. It was determined that managing two-story stands would reduce volume yields by 3% to 29% and financial yields by 6% to 15% depending on the number of live trees left after harvest. Group-selection stands reduced average annual volume yields by 6% or 10% and financial yields by 33% or 45% depending on the number of entries in a rotation. A financial analysis with price premiums for larger logs was also performed, but the yields did not experience much of a change.

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