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Energy analyses of forestry practices in oak pine forests and loblolly pine plantations

Energy analyses of forestry practices in oak pine forests and loblolly pine plantations

Forest Science 27(2): 365-376

Evaluation of regional management strategies for natural resources requires a common value system for measuring costs and benefits. Energy values were used to characterize and model the comparative inputs and outputs associated with mixed oak-pine forests and loblolly pine plantations in McCurtain County, Oklahoma [USA]. An energy model of the forestry industry in the county was also constructed. [The oak-pine forests are dominanted by shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), white oak (Quercus alba), post oak (Q. stellata,), blackjack oak (Q. marilandica), black hickory (Carva texana) and mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa). Expressing all types of energy as fuel equivalents (FE) permitted the calculation of energy costs for logging, land conversion and plantation maintenance. The calculated costs of logging mixed forests and pine plantations were 11.0 .times. 106 kcal FE/ha and 12.2 .times. 106 kcal FE/ha, respectively. Converting land to pine plantations required 8.2 .times. 106 kcal FE/ha, and maintaining the plantation for 30 yr required 0.03 .times. 106 kcal FE/ha. Harvested mixed-forest and pine plantation biomass amounted to 113.8 .times. 106 kcal FE/ha and 232.0 .times. 106 kcal FE/ha, respectively. The ratio of energy outputs to energy inputs was 9.0 for the mixed-forest and 9.4 for pine plantation management strategies. If solar energy is included in these ratios, the quotient was 0.31 for the mixed forest and 0.95 for the pine plantation. This 3:1 energy advantage for the pine plantation indicates the positive potential of amplifying energy subsidies while maintaining a favorable output/input energy ratio.

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