Title

An integrated assessment approach to optimal forest bioenergy production for young Scots pine stands

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Cao, T, Hyytiäinen, K, Hurttala, H, Valsta, L & Vanclay, JK 2015, 'An integrated assessment approach to optimal forest bioenergy production for young Scots pine stands', Forest Ecosystems, vol. 2, no. 19.

Available open access

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Background

Bioenergy is re-shaping opportunities and imperatives of forest management. This study demonstrates, through a case study in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), how forest bioenergy policies affect stand management strategies.

Methods

Optimization studies were examined for 15 Scots pine stands of different initial stand densities, site types, and temperature sum regions in Finland. Stand development was modelled using the PipeQual stand simulator coupled with the simulation-optimization tool OptiFor Bioenergy to assess three forest bioenergy policies on energy wood harvest from early thinnings.

Results

The optimal solutions maximizing bare land value indicate that conventional forest management regimes remain optimal for sparse stands. Energy harvests occurred only when profitable, led to lower financial returns. A forest bioenergy policy which included compulsory energy wood harvesting was optimal for denser stands. At a higher interest rate (4 %), increasing energy wood price postponed energy wood harvesting. In addition, our results show that early thinning somewhat reduced wood quality for stands in fertile sites. For less fertile sites, the changes were insignificant.

Conclusions

A constraint of profitable energy wood harvest is not rational. It is optimal to carry out the first thinning with a flexible forest bioenergy policy depending on stand density.