Highlights: The interruption of the sequence of events used to explore a solution space and develop a forest plan, and the re-initiation of the search process from a high-quality, known starting point (reversion) seems necessary for some s-metaheuristics; When using a s-metaheuristic, higher quality forest plans may be developed when the reversion interval is around six iterations of the model.
The use of a reversion technique during the search process of s-metaheuristics has received little attention with respect to forest management and planning problems. Reversion involves the interruption of the sequence of events that are used to explore the solution space and the re-initiation of the search process from a high-quality, known starting point. We explored four reversion rates when applied to three different types of s-metaheuristics that have previously shown promise for the forest planning problem explored, threshold accepting, tabu search, and the raindrop method. For two of the s-metaheuristics, we also explored three types of decision choices, a change to the harvest timing of a single management unit (1-opt move), the swapping of two management unit’s harvest timing (2-opt moves), and the swapping of three management unit’s harvest timing (3-opt moves). One hundred independent forest plans were developed for each of the metaheuristic / reversion rate combinations, all beginning with randomly-generated feasible starting solutions. We found that (a) reversion does improve the quality of the solutions generated, and (b) the rate of reversion is an important factor that can affect solution quality.