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Open AccessArticle

A Spatially Explicit Method to Assess the Economic Suitability of a Forest Road Network for Timber Harvest in Steep Terrain

1
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Forest Production Systems Group, Zuercherstrasse 111, CH 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
2
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), GIS Group, Zuercherstrasse 111, CH 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
3
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), Scientific Service NFI, Zuercherstrasse 111, CH 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(4), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040169
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Operations, Engineering and Management)
Despite relatively high road density in the forests of Switzerland, a large percentage of that road network does not fulfill best practice requirements. Before upgrading or rebuilding the road network, harvesting planners must first determine which areas have insufficient access. Traditional assessment methods tend to only report specific values such as road density. However, those values do not identify the exact parcels or areas that are inaccessible. Here, we present a model that assesses the economic suitability of each timbered parcel for wood-harvesting operations, including tree-felling and processing, and off- and on-road transport (hauling), based on the existing road network. The entire wood supply chain from forest (standing trees) to a virtual pile at the border of the planning unit was captured. This method was particularly designed for steep terrain and was tested in the Canton of Grisons in Switzerland. Compared with classical approaches, such as the road density concept, which only deliver average values, this new method enables planners to assess the development of a road network in a spatially explicit manner and to easily identify the reason and the location of shortcomings in the road network. Moreover, while other related spatially explicit approaches focus only on harvesting operations, the assessment method proposed here also includes limitations (road standards) of the road network. View Full-Text
Keywords: harvesting; steep terrain; forest operations; forest road network; optimization heuristics harvesting; steep terrain; forest operations; forest road network; optimization heuristics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bont, L.G.; Fraefel, M.; Fischer, C. A Spatially Explicit Method to Assess the Economic Suitability of a Forest Road Network for Timber Harvest in Steep Terrain. Forests 2018, 9, 169.

AMA Style

Bont LG, Fraefel M, Fischer C. A Spatially Explicit Method to Assess the Economic Suitability of a Forest Road Network for Timber Harvest in Steep Terrain. Forests. 2018; 9(4):169.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bont, Leo Gallus; Fraefel, Marielle; Fischer, Christoph. 2018. "A Spatially Explicit Method to Assess the Economic Suitability of a Forest Road Network for Timber Harvest in Steep Terrain" Forests 9, no. 4: 169.

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