Development and analysis of an opportunity cost simulation accounting for the spatial distributions of local forest management
AbstractWe describe the development of a simulation based on neighbor relationships between small stands forming many sub compartments in a forested area. We used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to simulate local forest management plans. The distribution and intensity of different silvicultural practices were visualized. We also determined whether, at specified rates, the implementation of forestry operations was optimum for the desired outcomes in specific compartments. Based on the results, we discuss the tradeoff between two silvicultural strategies. First, the rational economic strategy, which generally focuses on implementing silvicultural prescriptions in some compartments. Second, the environmental strategy, which generally focuses on implementing silvicultural prescriptions in all compartments, taking account of environmental forestry practices. The difference between profits under the two strategies at the study site was approximately 20 %, and this economic difference could be considered to represent “opportunity costs” of a commitment to environmentally conscious management. We created the simulation to map the strategies based on the location of existing forest roads and any special constraints. In addition, the model could be used as a decision-making tool for considering the tradeoff between environmental and economic strategies.
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