Strategic analysis and long-term forest management plans
Strategic planning and long-term forest management plans
Strategic forestry planning aims at determining how much, when and possible where to havest, taking into account long-term sustainability aspects. Sustainability typically include not only production and economy, but also biological diversity, social values and other interests. To understand the long-term consequences, it is common to use a 100-year planning horizon in boreal forestry. TreeSys is specialized in using the Swedish forestry decision support system Heureka developed by SLU. Heureka has lately attracted some interest from abroad and now offers possibilites to plugin custom growth models. Hopefully in the future other types of models will be possibile to plugin as well, thus opening up for using Heureka in any country.
A strategic plan can be made either with a stratified sample or with the whole stand database as input. The advantage of an objective sample is that it can calculate the uncertainties in the estimates and minimize risk of misjudgements. The advantage of including every stand is to directly get stand level management proposals. TreeSys recommends using both types of data; the sample-based analysis is done first and then, if the results differ too much, use it for calibration of the stand analysis.
Using Heureka is often perceived as a “sweaty but rewarding” exercise. You are forced to consider issues that you might not even have thought of. Often there are several alternative courses of action, all of which are long-term sustainable, each giving you completely different logging profiles over time. You often have to consider what you have done before and whether to continue on the same path or change strategy. Heureka can analyze different types of thinning programs, extension of cycle times, intensification of management in some areas, species changes, biofuel outtake, price lists, price trends etcetera.
One of Heureka’s main benefits is the integrated optimization tool. You can, for example, formulate a model that takes into account both the business aspects (eg, budget restrictions and total harvesting volumes) and restrictions on market areas and districts (eg even-flow requirements for each district). Furthermore, you can formulate models for landscaping that, for example, defines what the age structure should look like in different forest types. TreeSys has long experience with formulating optimization models for many forest companies, including for customers who have their own “Heureka-pilots”.
When TreeSys is doing the analysis we always present a number of different options. These are discussed and refined until the client feels satisfied with the solution. One advantage of using Heureka and optimization is that it is relatively easy to do sensitivity analysis and change the conditions, for example to see how different discount rate affects the results.