Why add a road network?

Just like real estate, the three most important factors in forest operations planning are location, location, and location. The reason that location is so important is because access development and hauling costs are a significant expense, and (generally) management treatments cannot occur in locations where there is no road access. Knowing where the wood is is only part of the challenge of wood supply modelling. Knowing where it is coming from, where it is going and how it is getting there can provide valuable insights into the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability of the forest management undertaking.

Rising fuel costs continue to make hauling one of the largest expenditures in the forest management program. Better planning of harvest scheduling across planning periods may translate to improved efficiency and major long term cost savings.

Additional spatial guidance using controls in the planning model can help reduce the management footprint and subsequent fragmentation of the forest. Road cost objectives (such as hauling expenditures) give the model an additional incentive to consolidate planned harvest events.