Constraints on forest management

Constraints on forest management from federal and state regulations, best management practices, local ordinances, voluntary conservation, and forest certification programs
have expanded in number and complexity over time as new concerns and interests have arisen. While constraints are usually placed on forest management with the intent of promoting desirable environmental and aesthetic benefits, each constraint potentially reduces the amount of wood fiber and revenue that can be produced from a given area of forestland.

A recent paper, authored by NCASI staff members, assessed reductions in yield that can result from various combinations of constraints on clearcut adjacency, conversion from natural forest to plantation, herbicide use, and traditional even-flow limitations. The abstract for the publication follows.

“Regulations and other constraints that apply to forest management have increased over time as have attendant costs, which are measured here in terms of reduced yield. An example application shows that the marginal impact of an additional constraint depends on the constraints that precede it, initial conditions of the forest, and length of the planning horizon. This example concurs with other studies by showing that constraints can significantly (by more than 20%) reduce yields. However, the exact loss in potential yield depends on the specific situation. The impact of a new constraint is reduced if numerous constraints precede it, because an ever-increasing number of constraints eventually drives yields to zero. These results imply that the cumulative effect of ever-increasing constraints could eventually render forest management uneconomic.”  

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Reference 

Van Deusen, P., T.B. Wigley, and A. A. Lucier. 2012. Cumulative effects of constraints on forest management. Journal of Forestry 110(3):123-128. http://dx.doi.org/10.5849/jof.10-096