Economic analysis of a target diameter harvesting system in radiata pine
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Forestry Science
Target diameter harvesting (TDH) is a forest management system in which all stems above a set minimum diameter are harvested on a periodic basis. There is evidence in the literature that TDH can achieve a rate of return on a similar scale to a clearfelling regime, with added benefits of regular cash flow from partial harvests, and preservation of non-timber values.
Economic analysis was carried out on 12 years of TDH using permanent sample plot (PSP) data from Woodside Forest, a 30ha plantation of radiata pine (Pinus radiata). The Woodside Forest management regime has a target diameter of 60cm, and a harvest cycle of two years. Economic analysis considered the option to partial harvest or clearfell every two years, and compared the outcome of each option in terms of land expectation value (LEV). Comparisons are made between regimes with different numbers of partial harvests, assessing the effect of TDH on stand LEV.
Results show that in three of four applicable stands, LEV reached a maximum at ages 30 – 32, (near the time when partial harvesting commenced), and reduced slowy with increased numbers of partial harvests. This shows there is a small opportunity cost associated with choosing TDH over a clearfell system. The effect of revenue from early partial harvesting operations on LEV was small as the majority of stand value is still in the standing crop. This limited the conclusions that can be drawn form this study due to the short time frame analyzed.
The study was limited by a small dataset which did not accurately represent average stand values. Because of this, no attempt to quantify the value of the opportunity costs was made. Despite this, the results support the notion that TDH can achieve economic returns similar to clearfelling in radiata pine forests.