Canadian Forest Service Publications

Value-added forest management planning: A new perspective on old-growth forest conservation in the fire-prone boreal landscape of Canada. 2018. Rijal, B; Lebel, L.; Martell, D.L.; Gauthier, S.; Lussier, J.-M.; Raulier, F. For. Ecol. Manag. 429: 44-6.

Year: 2018

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39224

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2018.06.045

† This site may require a fee

Mark record


The maintenance of old-growth stands is important for sustaining natural forest ecosystems, but fire disturbances and commonly-used timber harvest practices exert adverse impacts on the retention of old-growth forests. Forest management planning prescribes harvest levels based on the planning policy and models, but the impact of the management strategies on the retention of old-growth forests has not been well studied. The objectives of this study were to examine: a) the impact of implementing three different harvest policies on the retention of old-growth forest and b) the impact of implementing a policy of maintaining a targeted minimum of 20% old-growth area on the harvest revenue that would be generated over a long planning horizon. To simulate the implementation of these policies, we developed three strategic timber harvest-scheduling models. The first model (Model 1) maximizes harvest timber volume; Model 2 maximizes the net present value (NPV) of the timber harvested; and Model 3 maximizes the NPV of value-added products at the primary processing mills. The value-added products we considered were lumber, chips and sawdust. The models were solved for three forest management units with different fire regimes. Solutions to models that did not include a strict constraint on old-growth forest area retention did not retain the targeted level of old-growth forest over a 150-year planning horizon. When an old-growth constraint was implemented, Model 3 produced the greatest revenue with the least variation by 5-year period over the planning horizon. The probability of finding a feasible solution to our optimization Model 3 with an old-growth forest constraint increased to 0.87–1.0 compared with 0.71–0.83 using Model 1, and 0.78–0.87 using Model 2. We conclude that the value-added policy model increases the probability of sustaining the bioeconomy while preserving forest ecosystems initiated by disturbance.

Plain Language Summary

The goal of this study was to examine the impact of the implementation of various policies on old-growth forest conservation and on the generated wood revenue over a long-term planning horizon in management units facing forest fires.

In this study, the researchers concluded that a forest management planning model based on added value increased the likelihood of supporting the bioeconomy while preserving forest ecosystems, even those facing forest fires. To ensure that 20% of old-growth forest area is maintained, a forest protection constraint must be used, and the value-added model was found to have the least negative impacts on revenue.

Researchers studied three forest planning models based on optimizing the volume of harvested wood, optimizing the net current value of harvested wood, and optimizing the net current added value of all sawmill products (lumber, wood chips and sawdust), respectively.