Forest Level Planning
Timberland investors who manage any number of stands must make decisions as to how to manage each stand going forward into the future. This will include making decisions on if or when to thin, how to thin, whether to thin more than once, whether to fertilize or conduct woody release treatments in conjunction with or separately from one of the thinnings, and when to finally harvest and regenerate each stand. Obviously this becomes a complex question as soon as the number of stands becomes at all large.
Forest level planning, as the phrase implies, is an attempt to plan harvest or rotation ages for an entire property or ownership over an extended time frame called the planning period. This process is also called harvest scheduling. For organizations with a financial return objective, forest level planning logically involves (1) developing a list of potential management regimes (alternative ways of managing each stand) with typically 50 to 150 different alternatives for each stand, (2) estimating the mix of products and value at each year of the planning period for each potential management regime, and (3) choosing the best management regime for each stand to maximize the financial return to the landowner. Developing the alternative product mixes and values requires estimating the future growth of each current stand using alternative silvicultural treatments such as thinning or fertilization. Again, it is important to use an organization for this modeling that understands growth and yield AND silvicultural treatment responses. At Smarter Forestry you get that.
Often there are constraints that must be met that impact the choices made. In this case, optimization software is used to choose the best management regime for each stand that maximizes financial return while simultaneously satisfying the stated constraints. Typical constraints are minimum annual cash flows or annual wood flows to satisfy a mill supply agreement. Common planning period length is the age of a typical rotation. In the South a common planning period would be 30-40 years though some organizations that will hold land for shorter time frames will use shorter planning periods.
Experienced. Objective. Tailored. Punctual. Smarter.