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Forests 2013, 4(4), 830-848; doi:10.3390/f4040830

Are the Economically Optimal Harvesting Strategies of Uneven-Aged Pinus nigra Stands Always Sustainable and Stabilizing?

1
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ETSI de Montes, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2
Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Alberto Aguilera, 23, 28015 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 July 2013 / Revised: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 30 September 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
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Abstract

Traditional uneven-aged forest management seeks a balance between equilibrium stand structure and economic profitability, which often leads to harvesting strategies concentrated in the larger diameter classes. The sustainability (i.e., population persistence over time) and influence of such economically optimal strategies on the equilibrium position of a stand (given by the stable diameter distribution) have not been sufficiently investigated in prior forest literature. This article therefore proposes a discrete optimal control model to analyze the sustainability and stability of the economically optimal harvesting strategies of uneven-aged Pinus nigra stands. For this model, we rely on an objective function that integrates financial data of harvesting operations with a projection matrix model that can describe the population dynamics. The model solution reveals the optimal management schedules for a wide variety of scenarios. To measure the distance between the stable diameter distribution and the economically optimal harvesting strategy distribution, the model uses Keyfitz’s delta, which returns high values for all the scenarios and, thus, suggests that those economically optimal harvesting strategies have an unstabilizing influence on the equilibrium positions. Moreover, the economically optimal harvesting strategies were unsustainable for all the scenarios.
Keywords: sustainability; stability; matrix model; discrete optimal control; maximizing strategy sustainability; stability; matrix model; discrete optimal control; maximizing strategy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

López-Torres, I.; Ortuño-Pérez, S.; García-Robredo, F.; Fullana-Belda, C. Are the Economically Optimal Harvesting Strategies of Uneven-Aged Pinus nigra Stands Always Sustainable and Stabilizing? Forests 2013, 4, 830-848.

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