Development and Validation of a New, Stand-Level Process-Based Forest Operations Model and its Integration into Multiple Objective Spatial Forest Planning
This project develops new methods to better quantify the factors that affect the productivity and costs of timber harvesting (logging) activities, and helps to identify potential effects of weather on "on-the-ground" logging activities during the year. For example, how does winter logging affect the rate and costs of logging activities, as compared to logging in the summer Can we use computer simulated weather predictions to characterize "mud season" on the landscape, and use that as a way to plan when and where logging operations can most efficiently be deployed by managers in forestry. At a longer time scale, this project will also provide new quantitative methods and tools (a "model") for regional forest managers to use when they plan long-term forestry activities over time periods of 10-60 years. The costs of logging operations are an
important component of long term forestry planning. Often, simplified costs are included in long term estate-level planning by state and federal agencies and private landowners who manage large acreages. The new computer model created in this project will help improve the ability of managers to accurately predict the costs of future logging activities under different management scenarios. The project will also demonstrate use of the model to determine optimal forest management plans (the order and methods used to harvest timber stands) under different climate scenarios to maximize timber revenue, maximize clean water yield, and reduce wildland fire risk. New knowledge created by the study will include 2-3 new peer-reviewed journal publications that will help improve production forestry and will be useful for policy analysis. Because my lab groups works closely with state and federal
agencies and industry, there will be extensive direct communication with managers responsible for the majority of timber harvesting in Idaho, and eastern Washington and Oregon. The research and methods will be applied in the context of the same software and forestry planning methods used by Idaho Dept. of Lands, Potlatch Corp, Hancock Natural Resources Group, and other important regional forest management stakeholders. The project has high importance and potential for improving the production and efficiency of the timber industry in the Inland Northwest.