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Optimal control for forest management and conservation analysis in dehesa ecosystems


  • Cerdá, Emilio
  • Martín-Barroso, David


This paper presents a deterministic finite time horizon dynamic optimisation model aimed to determine optimal paths for artificial plantations and natural regeneration of two main tree species in dehesa multiple use ecosystems, holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) and cork oak (Q. suber L.). Whilst dehesa forest sustainability problems associated to exhaustive use of grazing resources have been indirectly approached by European Union authorities, providing support for artificial plantations over treeless land, no mention is made to natural regeneration techniques. In this sense, the formulated model allows for natural regeneration of already established ageing stands as a complement or even a substitute of actual reforestation practices. The proposed methodology is neither designed to determine optimal rotation of tree species nor optimal decorticating or pruning cycles of cork oaks and holm oaks, respectively. Instead, this information enters the model exogenously through knowledge of region specific silvicultural cycles for those commercially relevant tree species, and the optimisation program acts as an optimal land use allocator and thus a practical tool for policy analysis purposes. In addition to existing cost benefit analysis applications in dehesa ecosystems, the presented model allows in one side efficient evaluation of long term management dynamics —thus oak woodlands sustainability can be tested for sufficiently large time horizons—, and in the other, management decisions, instead of being forced through predefined scenarios, correspond to the optimal actions a decision agent would take from the complete set of feasible possibilities given actual land use and tree age distributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cerdá, Emilio & Martín-Barroso, David, 2013. "Optimal control for forest management and conservation analysis in dehesa ecosystems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 227(3), pages 515-526.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:227:y:2013:i:3:p:515-526
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2012.12.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alejandro Caparrós & Emilio Cerdá & Paola Ovando & Pablo Campos, 2010. "Carbon Sequestration with Reforestations and Biodiversity-scenic Values," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(1), pages 49-72, January.
    2. A. Caparros & P. Campos & G. Montero, 2003. "An operative framework for total hicksian income measurement - Application to a multiple-use forest," Post-Print hal-00719124, HAL.
    3. Couture, Stéphane & Reynaud, Arnaud, 2011. "Forest management under fire risk when forest carbon sequestration has value," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 2002-2011, September.
    4. Caparrós, Alejandro & Ovando, Paola & Oviedo, José L. & Campos, Pablo, 2011. "Accounting for carbon in avoided degradation and reforestation programmes in Mediterranean forests," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 405-428, August.
    5. Samuelson, Paul A, 1976. "Economics of Forestry in an Evolving Society," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 466-492, December.
    6. Snyder, Donald L. & Bhattacharyya, Rabindra N., 1990. "A more general dynamic economic model of the optimal rotation of multiple-use forests," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 168-175, March.
    7. Hartman, Richard, 1976. "The Harvesting Decision When a Standing Forest Has Value," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(1), pages 52-58, March.
    8. Alejandro Caparros & Pablo Campos & David Martin, 2003. "Influence of carbon dioxide abatement and recreational services on optimal forest rotation," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(3), pages 345-358.
    9. Venema, Henry David & Calamai, Paul H. & Fieguth, Paul, 2005. "Forest structure optimization using evolutionary programming and landscape ecology metrics," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 164(2), pages 423-439, July.
    10. Alejandro Caparrós & Pablo Campos & Gregorio Montero, 2003. "An Operative Framework for Total Hicksian Income Measurement: Application to a Multiple-Use Forest," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(2), pages 173-198, October.
    11. Lien, G. & Stordal, S. & Hardaker, J.B. & Asheim, L.J., 2007. "Risk aversion and optimal forest replanting: A stochastic efficiency study," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 181(3), pages 1584-1592, September.
    12. Strang, William J, 1983. "On the Optimal Forest Harvesting Decision," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(4), pages 576-583, October.
    13. Martell, David L. & Gunn, Eldon A. & Weintraub, Andres, 1998. "Forest management challenges for operational researchers," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 1-17, January.
    14. Church, Richard L. & Murray, Alan T. & Figueroa, Michael A. & Barber, Klaus H., 2000. "Support system development for forest ecosystem management," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 247-258, March.
    15. Kazana, Vassiliki & Fawcett, Roy H. & Mutch, William E. S., 2003. "A decision support modelling framework for multiple use forest management: The Queen Elizabeth Forest case study in Scotland," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 102-115, July.
    16. Campos, Pablo & Caparros, Alejandro, 2006. "Social and private total Hicksian incomes of multiple use forests in Spain," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 545-557, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jitka Janová & David Hampel, 2016. "Optimal managing of forest structure using data simulated optimal control," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 24(2), pages 297-307, June.


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