On the economics of optimal timber production in boreal Scots pine stands

Olli Tahvonen, Sampo Pihlainen, Sami Niinimaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This study analyzes the optimal management of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stands by applying recent developments in numerical optimization methods and forest production ecology. Our approach integrates a process-based, stand-level growth model and a detailed economic description of stand management. The variables optimized include the initial stand density, the number, timing, type, and intensity of thinnings, and the rotation period. A generalized pattern search is used to maximize the present value of net timber revenue over an infinite time horizon. The model adopts quality pricing, which takes branch size and quality into account, to differentiate among five different timber assortments. The analysis also covers five different site types. The results demonstrate the necessity of optimizing all of the management variables simultaneously. Given a low interest rate, optimized thinning significantly increases the rotation period, volume yield, and economic outcome. At higher interest rates, optimal rotation may be shortest under the least fertile growth conditions. The inclusion of a detailed price structure reveals that previous results concerning sensitivity to timber price and the relationship between maximum sustainable yield and economic solutions do not hold true in models that provide a more realistic description of forest management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-730
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

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