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Open AccessArticle

Automated Cable Road Layout and Harvesting Planning for Multiple Objectives in Steep Terrain

Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Forest Production Systems Group, Zuercherstrasse 111, CH 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(8), 687;
Received: 4 July 2019 / Revised: 31 July 2019 / Accepted: 13 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Operations in Environmentally Sensitive Areas)
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Cable yarding is the most commonly used technique for harvesting timber from steep terrain in central Europe. During the planning process, one important task is to define the cable road layout. This means that the harvesting technology and cable road location must be specified for a given timber parcel. Although managers must minimize harvesting costs, it is even more important that such work on forests reduces the potential for damage to the residual stand and ensures that environmental conditions remain suitable for regeneration. However, current methods are geared only toward minimizing harvesting costs and are computationally demanding and difficult to handle for the end user. These limitations hinder broad application of such methods. Further, the underlying productivity models used for cost estimation do not cover all conditions of an area and they cannot be applied over a whole harvesting area. To overcome these shortcomings, we present: (1) a multiobjective optimization approach that leads to realistic, practicable results that consider multiple conflicting design objectives, and (2) a concept for an easy-to-use application. We compare the practical applicability and performance of the results achieved with multiobjective optimization with those achieved with single-objective (cost-minimal) optimization. Based on these points, we then present and discuss a concept for a user-friendly implementation. The model was tested on two sites in Switzerland. The study produced the following major findings: (1) Single-objective alternatives have no practical relevance, whereas multiobjective alternatives are preferable in real-world applications and lead to realistic solutions; (2) the solution process for a planning unit should include analysis of the Pareto frontier; and (3) results can only be made available within a useful period of time by parallelizing computing operations. View Full-Text
Keywords: cable road layout; environmental impact; multiobjective optimization; steep terrain harvesting cable road layout; environmental impact; multiobjective optimization; steep terrain harvesting

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Bont, L.G.; Maurer, S.; Breschan, J.R. Automated Cable Road Layout and Harvesting Planning for Multiple Objectives in Steep Terrain. Forests 2019, 10, 687.

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