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Open AccessArticle

Tree-Level Harvest Optimization for Structure-Based Forest Management Based on the Species Mingling Index

by 1,*,† and 2,†
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Zhejiang A & F University, Lin'an, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 311300, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Kevin L. O’Hara and Eric J. Jokela
Forests 2015, 6(4), 1121-1144;
Received: 25 January 2015 / Revised: 14 March 2015 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 9 April 2015
This novel research investigated the use of a heuristic process to inform tree-level harvest decisions guided by the need to maximize the interspersion of tree species across a forest. In the heuristic process, a species mingling value for each tree was computed using both (1) neighbors that were simply of a different species than the reference tree and (2) neighbors that were uniquely different species from both the reference tree and other neighbors of the reference tree. The tree-level species mingling value was averaged for the stand, which was then subject to a maximization process. Constraints included residual tree density levels and minimum tree volume harvest levels. In two case studies, results suggest that the species mingling index at the stand level can be significantly increased over randomly allocated harvest decisions using the heuristic process described. In the case studies, we illustrate how this type of process can inform management decisions by suggesting the distance between residual trees of similar species given the initial stand structure and the objectives and constraints. The work represents a unique tree-level optimization approach that one day may be of value as new technologies are developed to map the location of individual trees in a timely and efficient manner. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest management; forest planning; heuristic; harvest forest management; forest planning; heuristic; harvest
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Bettinger, P.; Tang, M. Tree-Level Harvest Optimization for Structure-Based Forest Management Based on the Species Mingling Index. Forests 2015, 6, 1121-1144.

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