Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 217, Issue 1, pp 425–445

The optimal harvesting problem under price uncertainty


DOI: 10.1007/s10479-014-1559-9

Cite this article as:
Piazza, A. & Pagnoncelli, B.K. Ann Oper Res (2014) 217: 425. doi:10.1007/s10479-014-1559-9


In this paper we study the exploitation of a one species forest plantation when timber price is governed by a stochastic process. The work focuses on providing closed expressions for the optimal harvesting policy in terms of the parameters of the price process and the discount factor, with finite and infinite time horizon. We assume that harvest is restricted to mature trees older than a certain age and that growth and natural mortality after maturity are neglected. We use stochastic dynamic programming techniques to characterize the optimal policy and we model price using a geometric Brownian motion and an Ornstein–Uhlenbeck process. In the first case we completely characterize the optimal policy for all possible choices of the parameters. In the second case we provide sufficient conditions, based on explicit expressions for reservation prices, assuring that harvesting everything available is optimal. In addition, for the Ornstein–Uhlenbeck case we propose a policy based on a reservation price that performs well in numerical simulations. In both cases we solve the problem for every initial condition and the best policy is obtained endogenously, that is, without imposing any ad hoc restrictions such as maximum sustained yield or convergence to a predefined final state.


Stochastic dynamic programming Forest management Optimal harvesting Price uncertainty 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de MatemáticaUniversidad Técnica Federico Santa MaríaValparaísoChile
  2. 2.Escuela de NegociosUniversidad Adolfo IbáñezPeñalolénChile

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