An economic evaluation of logging road maintenance Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/w9505273t

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  • This thesis describes the results of a project conducted to determine the economics of forest road maintenance alternatives between periods of timber harvesting. An open road and a closed road alternative will be compared to the economics of clearcutting an entire area and obliterating the road system until reentry at the end of the rotation. Road maintenance data was collected from the Siuslaw and Willamette National Forests in Oregon. An average present value cost per mile was determined for each location for U.S. Forest Service level one and level two maintenance. Level one is the maintenance performed on a road that is closed to vehicular traffic. Level two is the maintenance performed on roads open to high ground clearance vehicles. Reconstruction costs before each reentry were also included in the present value calculations. Results show that for short-term reentry periods, it is economically better to leave road systems open and maintain at level two than it is to close the roads and maintain at level one. The third alternative of clearcutting and obliterating the system until the end of the rotation was by far the best economic alternative. Only costs for actual maintenance were included in the analysis. Administrative costs, and costs associated with other resource values were not considered. To help demonstrate how maintenance costs compare to total timber revenues, road maintenance costs for different road densities were compared to associated timber value. Road densities per section (640 acres) for different logging systems were used to calculate a present value road maintenance cost per section. This was compared to timber values per section for three different volume per acre figures. These volumes represented site classes II, III and IV. It was found that road maintenance and reconstruction make up a small percentage of the total timber revenue. Although the percent of total revenue was low, road maintenance appears to be a significant investment.
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