Contributions to the economic analysis of even-aged silviculture: From simple models to complex analyses

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral thesis


In managed forests, the enormous complexity of an ecologic system meets a vast range of economic and other impact factors. Thus, to determine, analyze and understand economically optimal stand management is a task which has kept forest economists occupied for the past 200 years. The approach which has been followed since the days of Martin FAUSTMANN is the analysis of models which describe rather specific management scenarios using a set of clearly defined model assumptions. Unfortunately, the applicability of the findings to more general scenarios is limited. On the other side, the possibility of analyzing general management environments with single models is also limited by increasing complexity. Thus, a holistic understanding of optimal forest management is still missing. This statement also holds for the extensive field of optimal even-aged timber production, which essentially consists of only three main components, i.e., planting, thinning and final harvest. Therefore, this dissertation aims to make a contribution to further increase the general understanding of even-aged forest management. To achieve this goal three steps were taken. First, a qualitative analysis of a combined management plan including decisions on all three basic components is presented based on HALBRITTER and DEEGEN (2015). It provides a discussion of the direct and indirect dependencies between the decision variables of a rotation in a rather classical management environment. Second, three studies are presented which dissolve some of the classical model assumptions and extend the existing knowledge on even-aged forestry to relevant but more complex mangement questions. HALBRITTER (2015) includes natural regeneration and a shelter period in an even-aged system and explores the borders between the even- and uneven-aged management. Thereby, the influence of natural regeneration and the impact of several age classes were studied. HALBRITTER (2020) drops the assumption of stand homogeneity and investigates stand management under heterogeneous tree growth in which, for example, different social classes of trees are maintained. Lastly, HALBRITTER et al. (2020) extend the classical deterministic management environment in the direction of density-dependent hazard risk. This adds an additional aspect to the thinning and the rotation decision because, in this scenario, the probability of stand destruction can be controlled by thinning. As a third step, the studies above were embedded in a patchwork representing a conglomeration of models which are connected and validated by overlapping scopes. Using this approach, a wide range of different management scenarios can be covered by rather simple models. Thus, the complexity of the analysis decreases compared to single models with a more generally applicable framework and the problem of model complexity is mitigated. In addition, the inclusion of reference models with a particular focus on the management components stand establishment, thinning or rotation allows for a clear identification of the relationship between optimal stand management and the characteristics of a scenario. Applied to the qualitative analysis of the four studies above, the approach yields insights which contribute to a better understanding of even-aged forest management.


Original languageEnglish
Qualification levelDr. rer. silv.
Awarding Institution
  • Deegen, Peter, Supervisor
Defense Date (Date of certificate)2 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2022
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  • even-aged forestry, economic analysis, forest stand management, complexity, patchwork approach