The effects of simulated thinning treatments on volume and value of 65- to 80- year old stands dominated by noble fir on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/mw22v7689

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  • Very little is known about thinning 65- to 80- year-old noble fir dominated stands. There is a need for such information on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation (WSIR), Oregon where 65- to 80- year-old, high elevation, noble fir dominated stands are being managed. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of thinning on volume and dollar value as applied to the 65- to 80- year-old noble fir dominated stands on the WSIR. The effects of logging damage on residual stand value were studied. In addition, the effects of branch presence and size on stand value were analyzed. The West Cascades variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) was used to simulate 8 thinning regimes and growth of six noble fir dominated stands from the WSIR. Stand growth was projected for 50 years. The regimes included low and proportional thinnings to 4 residual stand levels. Residual stand levels were .25 percent, .35 percent, .45 percent, and .55 percent of maximum stand density. A computer program was written to determine log value using output from FVS, individual tree information on surface characteristics, and current domestic and export log prices and sort specifications. The volume and value outcomes from the range of thinning regimes were compared to each other and to an unthinned regime. Fifty years after thinning, stands that were lightly thinned increased slightly in total stand volume (includes volume removed at thinning) when compared to the unthinned stand. Increases were 1 percent to 7 percent more of the total volume of the unthinned stand. Heavy thinning decreased total stand volume. Fifty years after thinning, stands that were lightly thinned increased slightly in total stand value (includes value removed at thinning) when compared to the unthinned stand. Increases were 1 percent to 6 percent more than the total value of the unthinned stand. Heavy thinnings reduced total stand value. When the dollar value outcomes were calculated in terms of present net worth of the net revenue (logging and hauling costs included) at a range of discount rates and with and without real price increases, the thinning regimes that removed the most volume generally had the greatest present net worth. The regime with the greatest present net worth could be manipulated by changing the discount rate and real price increase. Analysis of the 40 largest trees per acre showed that the simulated thinning regimes result in very little to no individual tree growth response of the 40 largest trees per acre. The effects of branch presence and size in the first 40 foot log on log value were minimal. The determining factor of log value was size (small end diameter). These results indicate that thinning 65- to 80- year-old noble fir dominated stands on the WSIR does not significantly increase value or growth. Thinning does bring an immediate economic return. The decision to thin or not should be based on the importance of economic return at various points in time and the desired stand structure.
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