IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Optimizing the shares of native tree species in forest plantations with biased financial parameters

Listed author(s):
  • Hildebrandt, Patrick
  • Knoke, Thomas
Registered author(s):

    Addressing uncertainty is a key requirement to follow the principle of precaution in sustainable ecosystem management. The maximization of worst-case outcomes according to the "maximin" decision rule, based on the two parameters mean and variance of a financial indicator, is a prominent approach to integrate uncertainty in decision-making. In forestry, the problem of selecting the optimum tree species combination for a forest plantation investment can be seen as a problem of optimal portfolio selection, to be solved according to the "maximin" decision rule. Yet, it is well known that portfolios computed from expected means and variances are highly sensitive to changes in the estimated parameters. The financial results may be poor if we rely too much on the historical data. This paper tests an extended worst-case model that considers a lower bound for the expected mean net present value (NPV) of a tree species portfolio and an upper bound for its variance. Biased expected mean NPVs, variances and correlations for the tree species Picea abies [L.] Karst. (Spruce) and Fagus sylvatica L. (Beech) were used to test the variability of the resulting tree species portfolios (27 scenarios). A comprehensive simulated data set, which was adopted from an existing study and defined as the independent reference, served to evaluate the financial performance of the tree species portfolios obtained from optimization with the biased data. Compared with the results of classical worst-case optimization instances, it was feasible to reduce the variability of tree species shares effectively when the optimization was carried out with the extended worst-case approach. Furthermore, the financial performance of this approach was better when tested with the independent data. The worst-case forest NPVs achieved with the extended approach were on average 10% (statistical confidence 0.95) or 147% (statistical confidence 0.99) greater in comparison to the results of the classical approach. The influence of the uncertainty parameter selection was tested and the results were discussed against the controversial viewpoints on the usefulness of the "information-gap decision theory". Finally, the significance of our results for sustainable ecosystem management is pointed out.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 11 (September)
    Pages: 2825-2833

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:11:p:2825-2833
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Wayne Y. Lee & Ramesh K. S. Rao, 1988. "Mean Lower Partial Moment Valuation and Lognormally Distributed Returns," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(4), pages 446-453, April.
    2. Ross, Stephen A., 1976. "The arbitrage theory of capital asset pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 341-360, December.
    3. Yakov Ben-Haim, 2005. "Value-at-risk with info-gap uncertainty," Journal of Risk Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(5), pages 388-403, November.
    4. Edwards, Steven F. & Link, Jason S. & Rountree, Barbara P., 2004. "Portfolio management of wild fish stocks," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 317-329, July.
    5. Knoke, Thomas, 2008. "Mixed forests and finance -- Methodological approaches," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 590-601, April.
    6. Moog, Martin & Borchert, Herbert, 2001. "Increasing rotation periods during a time of decreasing profitability of forestry -- a paradox?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 101-116, June.
    7. Krysiak, Frank C., 2006. "Entropy, limits to growth, and the prospects for weak sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 182-191, June.
    8. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, September.
    9. repec:eee:ecomod:v:210:y:2008:i:4:p:487-498 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Knoke, Thomas & Moog, Martin, 2005. "Timber harvesting versus forest reserves--producer prices for open-use areas in German beech forests (Fagus sylvatica L.)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 97-110, January.
    11. Figge, Frank & Hahn, Tobias, 2004. "Sustainable Value Added--measuring corporate contributions to sustainability beyond eco-efficiency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 173-187, February.
    12. Dawei Bai & Tamra Carpenter & John Mulvey, 1997. "Making a Case for Robust Optimization Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(7), pages 895-907, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:11:p:2825-2833. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.