Canadian Forest Service Publications

Estimating harvest schedules and profitability under the risk of fire disturbance. 2005. Peter, B.; Nelson, J. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35: 1387-1388.

Year: 2005

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 25505

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

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Incorporating fire disturbance into sustainable forest management plans is necessary to provide estimates of variation around indicators for harvest levels, growing stock, profitability, and landscape structure. A fire disturbance model linked to a harvest simulator was used to estimate the probability of harvest shortages under a range of harvest levels and fire suppression scenarios. Results were then used to estimate "sustainable" harvest levels based on a risk tolerance to harvest shortages and the effects of fire suppression. On a 288 000 ha forest in northeastern British Columbia, the cost of historical fire disturbance was estimated at $4 million per year in terms of foregone harvest profits. Suppressing 98.3% of disturbance events to 30% of their historical size had a value of $1.8 million per year. Higher levels of risk tolerance were associated with increased harvest levels and short-term profits, but as timber inventories were drawn down, average long-term profits became volatile. The modelling framework developed here can help to determine resilient forest management strategies and estimate the future flow and variability of harvest volumes, profits, and landscape conditions.