Impacts of Management Intensity and Harvesting Practices on Long-term Forest Resource Sustainability in Georgia

Shangbin Liu, Chris J Cieszewski

Abstract


Using a spatially explicit forest management model called OPTIONS simulation analyses are conducted to investigate the impact of intensive management practices, rotation age, and harvest level on long-term wood production, harvest opportunities, and resource sustainability. The initial forest inventory is compiled from datasets of the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory Analysis Unit, various GIS data, Landsat thematic mapper imagery, and simplified assumptions about the spatial distribution of different forest cover types. The parameters of the model are determined from published and unpublished literature, and from interviews with experts in the area of forest management in the Southeastern US. The sensitivity analyses reveal the impacts of the individual factors of the intensive managed pine plantation (IMP), rotation age, and harvest level, and of the interaction of these factors on the sustainability of the forest resource production under the condition of a 4% net reduction in the forestland area. The results of the analyses suggest that IMP acreage and rotation length are key factors in sustaining an increased harvest level. The volume available for harvest increases with an increasing rate of transition to intensively managed pine plantations (IMPs rate) for each harvest level and rotation age. Even a reduced forestland (4% net reduction) in Georgia can easily sustain the current level of harvest with the current level of intensive pine plantation management for short and medium rotation ages. Increased pine plantation management intensity could lead to sustainable or even increased future wood production despite a decline in the forestland base and an increased wood demand. Timber growth would exceed removals in most of the projection period. Throughout the projections the distribution of the harvestable volume by species group shows that the traditionally managed pine plantations (PSOF) contributes to the largest share of the total harvestable volume. The distribution of the harvest by species group indicates that the harvest come mainly from PSOF and IMP. The merits of definitions of the scenarios in this study are discussed and compared with those used in the subregional timber supply (SRTS) modeling.

Keywords


Intensive management practices; forestland; harvest level; rotation age; sustainability; simulation; OPTIONS; SRTS

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