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Twenty years of excellence in forest management planning and analysis

Recent Projects

Assist in the development of long range forest management plans for six operating
regions representing over 1,000,000 acres of private timberlands in the intermountain
west. Land classification, forest growth simulation, and linear programming optimization
were used to develop long-range forest management plans. Database linkages with a
Geographic Information System were used throughout the project to maintain explicit
ties with mapped forest stands. The project represented the first attempt within the
client organization to address multiple-resource land use planning including timber
production, wildlife habitat, watershed analyses, and preservation of threatened and
endangered species habitat.

Develop strategic planning model to analyze implications of decreasing timber supply
for a complex of timberlands, fiber plantations, paper mills, and solid wood mills.
Linear programming optimization was used to study the financial implications of
decreasing fiber supplies on a complex of mills and timberlands representing an
investment of over $1,000,000,000. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to evaluate
model response across a range of financial and political assumptions. Abacus shared
program development responsibilities with the client's staff and a second consulting
firm. Abacus had partial responsibility for preparing materials for management
briefing sessions, and full responsibility for preparing documentation summarizing
model structure and use.

Develop and document a financial reporting system for use with the USFS
FORPLAN/Spectrum forest planning model. A post-Spectrum reporting system was
developed to produce detailed financial reports for a cooperative of three forest
industry companies. The program generates a financial pro-forma that itemizes
costs and revenues into several pre-defined categories; computes capital investment
and timber depletion rates; and provides common estimates of economic return such
as Pre-tax Return on Total Capital (PROTC), and Internal Rate of Return (IRR).
In addition, a proprietary version of the Spectrum program was created incorporating
refinements such as expanded capacities for price inflation/appreciation; increased
yield table storage; and expanded reporting.

Evaluate several existing forest structural stage classification systems; recommend
improvements; develop algorithms for revised classification system. Several existing
forest structural stage classification systems were evaluated for their ability to
accurately classify stand structure; both for existing stands, and for simulated stand
development. Observations were made on the strengths and weaknesses of each
system. A revised stand classification system, and classification algorithm were
developed as a result of the study.

Develop/document the Ecosystem Diversity Matrix Projection System. The Ecosystem
Diversity Matrix Projection System is an interactive visualization tool which allows
technical and lay audiences to visualize existing landscape conditions and explore
how forest management decisions will impact future forest health and diversity.
The projection system uses FVS and a graphical display system to project and display
forest acreage movements over time through the Idaho Southern Batholith Ecosystem
Diversity Matrix. The Ecosystem Diversity Matrix is displayed as a frequency bar
chart depicting acreage distributions across a matrix of habitat type group and
vegetation structural stage combinations. Four management prescriptions representing
a range of management goals allow the user to interactively explore how management
decisions will impact the landscape. In addition to displaying acreage distributions,
the program is designed to display time-series charts of ecosystem outputs and
attributes such as ecosystem diversity, forest risk ratings, habitat suitability,
harvest volumes and economic returns. The work was done in conjunction with Boise
Cascade's Idaho Ecosystems Demonstration Project involving collaborative efforts at
ecosystem management between Boise Cascade Corporation, the Boise, Payette and
Sawtooth National Forests, Intermountain Research, the Idaho Department of Lands,
the Idaho Fish and Game, the University of Idaho, the Nature Conservancy, the Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation and others.

Idaho Southern Batholith Ecosystem FORPLAN model. Built a FORPLAN goal- optimized
model covering 3.7 million forested acres of public and private lands in southern
Idaho. Analysis areas were defined based on Ecological Land Units (ELU's). The
model objective contained over 100 individual acreage goals for testing if forest
management could build/maintain adequate ecological representation of historical
forest covertypes and structures. The model was later modified to model the effects
of random stand-consuming fires, and their long-term effect on forest composition.

Brazil Eucalyptus plantation FORPLAN model. Assisted in the development of a FORPLAN
model for optimizing financial returns on short-rotation Eucalyptus plantations in
Brazil. Involved with model structure, prescription/yield table generation, and model

Customizing Spectrum r2.0 LP engines. US Forest Service source code was obtained and
then updated with several customized capabilities including reinstating the RDBFLAT
output file, removed yield table packing logic to increase the yield table storage
capacity by orders of magnitude, expanded economic trends, expanding dimensions on
numerous internal program arrays. The work was done for a consortium of three private
forest management companies.

Development and Training on BCCTOOLS, A set of Forest Management Planning Programs.
The BCCTOOLS system is a set of programs and input files designed to automate the
execution of multiple FVS simulations as well as the construction of the FORPLAN
yield file and some sections of the FORPLAN data file. The BCCTOOLS package is a
very powerful package that has allowed hundreds and thousands of simulations to be
run in just a few hours, and the standardized input files and directory structure
provides excellent documentation for repeatability of the model runs. Two three-day
training sessions were held on FVS and the BCCTOOLS programs.

Update FVS variants with Boise Cascade extensions. US Forest Service source code
was obtained for several FVS variants and updated with Boise Cascade extensions
including a FORPLAN yield table generator, calculation of numerous Vegetation
Characteristics including ecological land units in several regions, proprietary
regional volume equations, two region specific stand level growth engines, and one
stem level growth engine.

Copyright 2007, Abacus Enterprises, Inc.