A forest management decision support system for sustainable management of flammable boreal forest landscapes : an integrated policy approach to timber harvest planning

Authors: Rijal, Baburam
Advisor: Raulier, FrédéricLebel, LucMartell, David
Abstract: Forest fire is a natural process in the boreal forest region of Canada and it is strongly con-nected to forest growth and development. Yet, increasing anthropogenic activities coupled with gradual climate change can increase fire occurrence and area burned. Such an increase may cause adverse impacts on the forest-based economy by the potential disruption of tim-ber supply over a long-term planning horizon. This thesis explores an alternative approach to designing strategies to reduce the potential impact of fire on long-term revenues generated by the sale of prescribed harvest products using a specified forest management policy. The study is based on data from three commercially-managed forests located in the boreal forest region of the province of Quebec, Canada. The harvest planning policy models were solved using a constant average annual burn rate-embedded in a linear programming model. The harvest solutions prescribed by the planning model were evaluated by implementing them in a stochastic landscape simulation model. Among the four policy models examined, vertically integrated model (model 4) generated the highest revenue with the least within- and among-period variation in revenue over the planning horizon. This model maximized the net present value from the sale of primary-processed wood products for the first two periods subjecting to the constant flows of har-vest timber and recovered lumber volumes for an entire planning horizon. The higher reve-nue and lower variation suggest that the model can have lower risk of fire impacts on reve-nue compared with the other three models including the status quo sustained-yield policy model (model 1) that maximizes harvest timber volume subject to constant flows of the harvest volume over the planning horizon. Analysis of fire management expenditures demonstrated that increased presuppression ex-penditure can reduce suppression costs and increase the revenue from the harvest while lowering the variability. However, there is an optimal level of expenditure, which depends on the structure of the forest and fire regimes. Hence, an optimal allocation of presuppres-sion expenditure can reduce the risk of the fire on the long-term economics of the forest. Ecosystem sustainability is important for forest management. Therefore, ecological integrity is of increasing concern with respect to commercially-managed public forests in Canada. Implementation of a harvest policy with strict requirement of old-growth forest area con-straint while accounting for the possible impact of fire can have adverse impacts on reve-nue. The impacts can be reduced by selecting alternative forest management policies. The short-term reduction in revenue from harvests can be compensated for by long-term eco-nomic returns provided by age-related value accumulation of the harvest timber using alter-native policies. Finally, based on the results, the vertically integrated harvest planning model coupled with optimal fire management efforts can increase long-term average revenue to wood industry. The model lowers the risk of loss of revenue due to supply disruptions when the impact of fire is accounted for in the planning process. In addition, the solutions prescribed by this model help reduce the harvest rate and increase stock volume which can act as a buffer for the highly variable potential fires in the successive periods over a planning horizon.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/27722
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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