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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Spatial optimization for reducing wind exposure of forest stands at the property level

Fustel, Teresa Lopez-Andujar; Eggers, Jeannette; Lamas, Tomas; Ohman, Karin

Abstract

Storms constitute one of the major natural disturbances in Sweden and its associated damages appear to be in an upward trend during the last 35 years in Europe. In addition, storm damages are expected to increase in the future due to the shortening of the soil frost period during the winter caused by climate change. Here we present a new optimization model to be used in forest planning for decreasing the wind exposure for storms over time through the minimization of vulnerable edges between neighbouring stands in a forest property. Three different cases were investigated where height differences of 5, 10 and 15 m between neighbouring stands were used to identify vulnerable edges in the property. The model, which accounts for the higher sensitivity of spruce compared to other tree species, was formulated as a mixed integer programming problem and solved using a branch and bound algorithm in a case study for a forest property in southern Sweden. In the case study, we investigated the trade-off between minimizing the length of vulnerable stand edges and the net present value from wood production. Our results show that it is possible to decrease vulnerable edge length with relatively moderate declines in the maximum achievable net present value, resulting in a clustering of dominant heights of neighbouring stands. Larger decreases in vulnerable edge length led to larger decreases in net present value, and an increased area proportion of forest older than 80 years. This model can easily be adapted to other planning problems in which edge effects are important.

Keywords

Forest planning; Mixed-integer programming; Storm damage; Decision support system

Published in

Forest Ecology and Management
2021, Volume: 502, article number: 119649
Publisher: ELSEVIER