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A branch-and-bound procedure for forest harvest scheduling problems addressing aspects of habitat availability

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Abstract

In the literature, the most widely referred approaches regarding forest harvesting scheduling problems involving environmental concerns have typically addressed constraints on the maximum clear-cut area. Nevertheless, the solutions arising from those approaches in general display a loss of habitat availability. Such loss endangers the survival of many wild species. This study presents a branch-and-bound procedure designed to find good feasible solutions, in a reasonable time, to forest harvest scheduling problems with constraints on the clear-cut area and habitat availability. Two measures are applied for the habitat availability constraints: the area of all habitats and the connectivity between them. In each branch of the branch-and-bound tree, a partial solution leads to two children nodes, corresponding to the cases of harvesting or not harvesting a given stand in a given period. Pruning is based on constraint violations or unreachable objective values. Computational results are reported.

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