Linear programming in forest management

Foresters use linear programming to optimize the production of lumber in timber ‘estates’. They generally have one of the following objectives when chosing which stands to harvest:

  • Maximize discounted cash flow (i.e. profit over time)
  • Minimize costs to a particular ‘utilization plant’ (lumber mill?)
  • Maximize total production (in anticapation of a logging ban?)

LP is used to help decide when and where tree stands should be planted or harvested. It also helps to determine oppropriate ‘silviculture regimes’ (e.g. thinning, pruning, spacing, etc).

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