Softwood logs comprise a large portion of forest product exports from the United States. Most of these exports have occurred between the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and several Asian countries. In this study, the extent and degree of market integration of softwood log exports from 1996 to 2018 are examined by co-integration analyses and permanent–transitory decomposition. Softwood log exports to Japan and South Korea appear to be in the same economic market and show a high degree of integration, while trade between the United States and China has evolved more independently. A detailed analysis is conducted on five prices related to Japan and South Korea with full-time coverage, and one common integrating factor is found and estimated. The price of export from the Columbia-Snake Customs District to Japan is identified as the driving force. Price responses to market shocks usually occur within four months. These findings have implications for government agencies and participants in the market of softwood log trade.
Background: Tree species in the genus Cedrela P. Browne are threatened by timber overexploitation across the Neotropics. Genetic identification of processed timber can be used to supplement wood anatomy to assist in the taxonomic and source validation of protected species and populations of Cedrela. However, few genetic resources exist that enable both species and source identification of Cedrela timber products. We developed several ‘omic resources including a leaf transcriptome, organelle genome (cpDNA), and diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may assist the classification of Cedrela specimens to species and geographic origin and enable future research on this widespread Neotropical tree genus.
Results: We designed hybridization capture probes to enrich for thousands of genes from both freshly preserved leaf tissue and from herbarium specimens across eight Meliaceae species. We first assembled a draft de novo transcriptome for C. odorata, and then identified putatively low-copy genes. Hybridization probes for 10,001 transcript models successfully enriched 9795 (98%) of these targets, and analysis of target capture efficiency showed that probes worked effectively for five Cedrela species, with each species showing similar mean on-target sequence yield and depth. The probes showed greater enrichment efficiency for Cedrela species relative to the other three distantly related Meliaceae species. We provide a set of candidate SNPs for species identification of four of the Cedrela species included in this analysis, and present draft chloroplast genomes for multiple individuals of eight species from four genera in the Meliaceae.
Conclusions: Deforestation and illegal logging threaten forest biodiversity globally, and wood screening tools offer enforcement agencies new approaches to identify illegally harvested timber. The genomic resources described here provide the foundation required to develop genetic screening methods for Cedrela species identification and source validation. Due to their transferability across the genus and family as well as demonstrated applicability for both fresh leaves and herbarium specimens, the genomic resources described here provide additional tools for studies examining the ecology and evolutionary history of Cedrela and related species in the Meliaceae.
Natural resources are often subject to state uncertainty: resource abundance is not known with certainty, but can be measured. Measurements are typically imperfect and costly to obtain. The decision of whether to invest in resource measurement may be influenced by other state variables, for example a resource commodity price. We introduce a mixed-observability model of optimal forest management featuring a partially-observable forest resource and perfectly-observable stochastic price. The decision maker optimizes the expected net present value of forest returns by choosing when to measure current forest volume (conduct an inventory), harvest and replant, or delay action. Parameter values are obtained from numerous forestry data sources. Optimal investment in inventory reduces the cost of uncertainty about timber volume and increases the predictability of returns. Moreover, price stochasticity interacts with inventory decisions to produce asymmetric effects of high and low prices on inventory timing. We also produce the first graphical Faustmann rule analogues for jointly-optimal inventory and harvest.
Application of progeny test breeding values to forecast yield gains at rotation-age in genetically improved stands remains a very challenging yet crucial task for breeders of Douglas-fir and other long-rotation timber species such as western hemlock, white spruce, Norway spruce, and Scots pine. Evaluation of the economic returns on genetic improvement requires reliable estimates of yield gains at rotation age. Large-plot realized gain trials should provide more accurate estimates of yield gain than inferences from progeny tests, but are most dependable when they reach rotation age or at least approach rotation age. A set of coastal Douglas-fir realized genetic gain trials in western Oregon, based on a first-generation breeding program, was measured most recently at plantation ages ranging between 17 and 21 years. The trial was established on five sites at a spacing wide enough (3.6 × 3.6 m) to assume that the trees could be grown to rotation age with no further silvicultural intervention. A growth model, CIPSANON v. 4.0, projected the current tree lists from these trials to plantation age 60 years to facilitate estimation of yield gains at various rotation ages up to 60 years. The following two simulation approaches were explored: (1) apply genetic-gain multipliers developed from a previous study for diameter and height growth, and (2) assume that genetic gain differences were fully represented by plot-level site index expressed at the most recent measurement. The two approaches resulted in similar estimates of realized yield gain at plantation ages up to 60 years. Relative gain decreased over time, but absolute gain (in cubic meters or board feet) increased over time. Relative stand volume gain simulated to the average current rotation age of 50 years was about 30% of the relative realized gain measured at plantation age 10/12 years (birth age 13/15 years) and about 38% of the relative realized gain measured at plantation age 17–21 years (birth age 20–24 years). Several validation needs were identified including magnitude of genetic-gain multipliers, duration of annual multiplier application over the duration of a simulation, adjustment of multipliers as the stand ages, and most appropriate multiplier resolution (tree versus stand). A potentially critical knowledge gap remains about any genetic improvement effects on yield gains associated specifically with increased carrying capacity that would be consistent with the crop ideotype concept.
A key assumption of epidemiological models is that population-scale disease spread is driven by close contact between hosts and pathogens. At larger scales, however, mechanisms such as spatial structure in host and pathogen populations and environmental heterogeneity could alter disease spread. The assumption that small-scale transmission mechanisms are sufficient to explain large-scale infection rates, however, is rarely tested. Here, we provide a rigorous test using an insect-baculovirus system. We fit a mathematical model to data from forest-wide epizootics while constraining the model parameters with data from branch-scale experiments, a difference in spatial scale of four orders of magnitude. This experimentally constrained model fits the epizootic data well, supporting the role of small-scale transmission, but variability is high. We then compare this model’s performance to an unconstrained model that ignores the experimental data, which serves as a proxy for models with additional mechanisms. The unconstrained model has a superior fit, revealing a higher transmission rate across forests compared with branch-scale estimates. Our study suggests that small-scale transmission is insufficient to explain baculovirus epizootics. Further research is needed to identify the mechanisms that contribute to disease spread across large spatial scales, and synthesizing models and multiscale data are key to understanding these dynamics.
A recent expansion in wood energy use at schools in Alaska has resulted in more than a dozen wood energy systems in operation. However, few have been evaluated for fuel efficiency and pollution impacts, both of which can be examined via combustion gas analysis. In this research, we monitored the wood energy system at a public school during winter heating conditions. Wood energy parameters were sampled on three occasions during early, mid, and late winter in northern Alaska. Combustion gas was sampled for a range of parameters that indicated boiler performance, including gas emmissions of oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), excess air, combustion efficiency, and stack temperature, which were monitored over 6 days. We observed differences in combustion gas composition between seasons as well as the response of combustion efficiency to gas concentrations. Combustion efficiency most strongly correlated with excess air (R2 = 0.693), but poorly correlated with stack temperature (R2 = 0.005). The primary combustion gases (O2, CO2, and CO) were moderately correlated with combustion efficiency (with R2 values of 0.40, 0.56, and 0.55, respectively). Seasonal differences were found between early, mid, and late winter, with generally less variation in combustion gas contents occurring during late winter. Mean combustion gas concentrations also varied with heating season. In all cases, mid-winter means were significantly different than early and late winter values. This research found that more efficient combustion of wood fuels should lead to cost savings, especially during early and late heating seasons. The findings should also be relevant to those of other wood-energy-using schools (in Alaska and elsewhere) that experience severe mid-winter conditions coupled with milder shoulder seasons.
In southeast Alaska, United States, multiple-use forest management objectives include both timber production and wildlife habitat. Following stand-replacing disturbances such as clear-cutting, Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carrière) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) naturally regenerate and competitively dominate resources, excluding understory biomass and biodiversity. Thinning may mitigate the effects of canopy closure and permit understory development, but evidence of the effect on understories 8–10 years after thinning is lacking. We report results 4–5 and 8–10 years after thinning experiments on the Tongass National Forest to demonstrate the effects of precommercial thinning (thinned versus control), stand age (15–25, 25–35, and 35–50 years), and weather on understory dynamics and Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis Merriam, 1898) forage availability. Stand density negatively affected understory biomass, whereas temperature and precipitation positively interacted to increase biomass. Thinning had an enduring effect on understories, with biomass at least twice as great in thinned versus unthinned stands through year 10. We identified compositional differences from thinning as stand age class increased. Deer forage responded similarly to biomass, but thinning-induced differences faded with increased winter snowfall scenarios, especially in older stands. This study aids the understanding of stand overstory and understory development following silvicultural treatments in the coastal temperate rain forest of Alaska and suggests management implications and applications for balancing objectives throughout the forest type.