Forest harvest scheduling with clearcut and core area constraints
Many studies regarding environmental concerns in forest harvest scheduling problems deal with constraints on the maximum clearcut size. However, these constraints tend to disperse harvests across the forest and thus to generate a more fragmented landscape. When a forest is fragmented, the amount of edge increases at the expense of the core area. Highly fragmented forests can neither provide the food, cover, nor the reproduction needs of core-dependent species. This study presents a branch-and-bound procedure designed to find good feasible solutions, in a reasonable time, for forest harvest scheduling problems with constraints on maximum clearcut size and minimum core habitat area. The core area is measured by applying the concept of subregions. In each branch of the branch-and-bound tree, a partial solution leads to two children nodes, corresponding to the cases of harvesting or not a given stand in a given period. Pruning is based on constraint violations or unreachable objective values. The approach was tested with forests ranging from some dozens to more than a thousand stands. In general, branch-and-bound was able to quickly find optimal or good solutions, even for medium/large instances.
KeywordsForest planning Core area Edge effect Clearcut Integer programming Branch-and-bound
This work was partly funded by FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) within projects UID/EEA/50014/2013 and UID/MAT/04561/2013. We would like to thank four anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on a previous version of this paper.
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