Current issue: 54(2)
Heuristic techniques have been increasingly used to address the complex forest planning problems over the last few decades. However, heuristics only can provide acceptable solutions to difficult problems, rather than guarantee that the optimal solution will be located. The strategies of neighborhood, hybrid and reversion search processes have been proved to be effective in improving the quality of heuristic results, as suggested recently in the literature. The overall aims of this paper were therefore to systematically evaluate the performances of these enhanced techniques when implemented with a simulated annealing algorithm. Five enhanced techniques were developed using different strategies for generating candidate solutions. These were then compared to the conventional search strategy that employed 1-opt moves (Strategy 1) alone. The five search strategies are classified into three categories: i) neighborhood search techniques that only used the change version of 2-opt moves (Strategy 2); ii) self-hybrid search techniques that oscillate between 1-opt moves and the change version of 2-opt moves (Strategy 3), or the exchange version of 2-opt moves (Strategy 4); iii) reversion search techniques that utilize 1-opt moves and the change version of 2-opt moves (Strategy 5) or the exchange version of 2-opt moves (Strategy 6). We found that the performances of all the enhanced search techniques of simulated annealing were systematic and often clear better than conventional search strategy, however the required computational time was significantly increased. For a minimization planning problem, Strategy 6 produced the lowest mean objective function values, which were less than 1% of the means developed using conventional search strategy. Although Strategy 6 performed very well, the other search strategies should not be neglected because they also have the potential to produce high-quality solutions.
The study proposes a technique which enables the computation of user-defined indices for species diversity. These indices are derived from characteristics, called diversity indicators, of inventory plots, stand compartments, and the whole forest holding. The study discusses the modifications required to be made to typical forest planning systems due to this kind of biodiversity computation. A case study illustrating the use of the indices and a modified forest planning system is provided. In the case study, forest-level species diversity index was computed from the volume of dead wood, volume of broadleaved trees, area of old forest, and between-stand variety.
At the stand level, the area of old forest was replaced by stand age, and variety was described by within-stand variety. All but one of the indicators were further partitioned into two to four sub-indicators. For example, the volume of broadleaved trees was divided into volumes of birch, aspen, willow, and other tree species. The partial contribution of an indicator to the diversity index was obtained from a sub-priority function, determined separately for each indicator. The diversity index was obtained when the partial contributions were multiplied by the weights of the corresponding indicators and then were summed. The production frontiers computed for the harvested volume and diversity indices were concave, especially for the forest-level diversity index, indicating that diversity can be maintained at satisfactory level with medium harvest levels.
The paper examines the needs, premises and criteria for effective public participation in tactical forest planning. A method for participatory forest planning utilizing the techniques of preference analysis, professional expertise and heuristic optimization is introduced. The techniques do not cover the whole process of participatory planning, but are applied as a tool constituting the numerical core for decision support. The complexity of multi-resource management is addressed by hierarchical decision analysis which assesses the public values, preferences and decision criteria toward the planning situation. An optimal management plan is sought using heuristic optimization. The plan can further be improved through mutual negotiations, if necessary. The use of the approach is demonstrated with an illustrative example. Its merits and challenges for participatory forest planning and decision making are discussed and a model for applying it in general forest planning context is depicted. By using the approach, valuable information can be obtained about public preferences and the effects of taking them into consideration on the choice of the combination of standwise treatment proposals for a forest area. Participatory forest planning calculations, carried out by the approach presented in the paper, can be utilized in conflict management and in developing compromises between competing interests.