Efficient and sustainable management of complex forest ecosystems

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8 Citations (Scopus)


A large range of models has been developed for the analysis of optimal forest management strategies, with the well-known Faustmann models dating back to the mid-19th century. To date, however, there has been relatively little attention for the implications of complex ecosystem dynamics for optimal forest management. This paper examines the implications of irreversible ecosystem responses for efficient and sustainable forest management. The paper is built around two forest models that comprise two ecosystem components, forest cover and topsoil, the interactions between these components, and the supply of the ecosystem services `wood¿ and `erosion control¿. The first model represents a forest that responds in a reversible way to overharvesting. In the second model, an additional ecological process has been included and the ecosystem irreversibly collapses below certain thresholds in forest cover and topsoil depth. The paper presents a general model, and demonstrates the implications of pursuing efficient as well as sustainable forest management for the two forest ecosystems. Both fixed and variable harvesting cycles are examined. Efficient and sustainable harvesting cycles are compared, and it is shown that irreversible ecosystem behaviour reduces the possibilities to reconcile efficient and sustainable forest management through a variable harvesting cycle
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-366
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • soil-erosion
  • economics
  • uncertainty
  • systems
  • future
  • growth
  • model
  • faustmann
  • dynamics
  • services

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