Effect of root and butt rot uncertainty on optimal harvest schedules and expected incomes at the stand level

Key message

Root and rot (RBR) caused by Heterobasidion parviporum Niemelä & Korhonen and Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. damages Fennoscandian spruce stands. In case the rot infection and its severity are unknown, the mere risk of infection should seldom affect the harvest timing. When it does, the gains by harvesting earlier are minimal.


Context It has been suggested that stands infected by RBR should be harvested earlier than the healthy ones. Yet, we must decide on harvest timing decisions without reliable information on the infection.
Aims We studied if harvesting earlier pays off under RBR uncertainty.
Methods We structured the uncertainty with a decision tree and calculated the optimal rotations based on expected net present values. We compared rotation lengths to those of healthy stands and calculated gains from earlier harvesting.
Results The inclusion of RBR-related uncertainty in the model changed the rotation length of only 14–23% of the stands. The average reduction was 1.3–4.7 years. Yet, the gain from harvesting earlier was too low to be considered.
Conclusion In the absence of information on the extent and severity of RBR, it seldom pays off to advance harvests. The value growth in healthy trees tends to compensate for the value reduction due to rot.

Heterobasidion parviporum; Heterobasidion annosum; Decision tree; Land expectation value; Economically optimal rotation age

Aza, A., Kangas, A., Gobakken, T. et al. Effect of root and butt rot uncertainty on optimal harvest schedules and expected incomes at the stand level. Annals of Forest Science 78, 70 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-021-01072-1

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Data availability
The datasets generated/analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Handling Editor
Rasoul Yousefpour

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