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Communal Forest Plantations, Spain

Spatial Interactions in Communal Forest Plantations

Julia Touza Montero (2001)

This project investigates the Management of Forest lands held by map of GaliciaCommunal private forest owners (CPFO).The empirical research focuses on Galicia (a Spanish region) where private individuals own 97% of the forest area. There are two types of ownership:

single ownership: 64% of forest land; mean size of the plots: 1.4 hectares; 672,618 owners.

communal ownership: 33% of forest land; mean size of the plots: 233 hectares; 2,800 communities.

The main problem for management of Galician forests is that the land use is very fragmented. Community lands can be characterised as a multiple plantation forests (i.e. a set of forest patches). These communal forestlands basically, because of their size, offer an opportunity for managing forest resources at landscape scale, taking into consideration the spatial arrangement of the forest patches.

Adopting this approach is is relevant for ecological reasons:

Management at ecosystem scale is vital for the protection of biodiversity. Management and ecological interactions between spatially dispersed forest areas influence the function of forest ecosystems.

AND for economic reasons:

It is economically more desirable to cut timber quantities in adjacent areas, because it is less costly for unit of timber and less infrastructure is needed

This research focuses on timber plantations because timber production is very important for the Galician regional economy (Galicia produces 50% of Spanish timber). However, only half of what is classified as forestland is actually woodland dedicated to timber production (small bushes cover the other half). It is also important to emphasize that Eucalyptus globulus and Pinus pinaster cover more than the 70% of the wooded area.

The objective of this research is to develop a mathematical framework for modelling rotational harvest decisions in communal forestlands taking into account spatial interactions between stands and their influence on the provision of non-timber benefits (e.g. recreation, wildlife, water yield, etc).

Traditional framework in Forestry Economics

The existing framework for dealing with forestry decisions is based on the work of Faustmann (1849). Faustmann’s model focuses on a single stand and the key decision in Faustmann’s model is when a stand should be cut, assuming that the forester wants to maximise the benefits derived from the land.

Main Limitations:

In addressing forest community’s decisions, the Faustmann framework cannot be used because it deals only with a single stand. It is necessary to consider the optimal management of multiple stand forest ecosystems involving ecological and economic interactions. All biological and economic factors such as timber price, tree species, growth rate, etc remain constant through time (which is quite unrealistic).

The analysis is based on Optimal Control Theory. I have extended existing bioeconomic forestry models (Termansen, 2000) to include clear-cutting in a multiple stand forest .

In the model, the communities maximise their social welfare, as a function of the returns obtained for timber when the stands are cut and the amenity services provided for the whole forest.

The management decision is the age at which each stand is going to be harvested, taking into account that the forest amenity services are determined by the relationship among the different aged stands.

My results so far indicate that the age at which any stand in the communal forest is harvested depends on the overall age structure of the surrounding forest landscape. Thus, the model includes spatial interactions among stands and identifies the optimum management strategy for the whole communal forest.

The graphs below exemplify two different management policies which could apply when we have two stands. In the first graph the two stands are both harvested in an alternating sequence; and in the second graph one stand is left uncut to produce environmental benefits from old growth forest while the other stand is harvested regularly for timber.




This poster was originally presented as part of the CPR workshop on Developing Management strategies that can benefit the poor, funded by UK Department for International Development (DFID).

This work is funded by:

Last Updated: 18 December 2018