Heuristics have been used extensively to support forest management scheduling in the last two decades. The need for spatial definition, and the combined shortcomings of available technology and traditional mathematical programming approaches, sparked interest in alternative forest management scheduling techniques in the early 1980s. Concerns with the environmental impacts of forest management options further encouraged the development of heuristics to address adjacency relationships in harvesting decisions. More recently, heuristics have been used to target other multi-objective management issues. Namely, they have been used to provide information to help sustain both traditional forest products flows (e.g. timber and cork) and landscape structural characteristics (e.g., mosaic elements such as patch number and size, amounts of edge or interior space). In this chapter, we describe the current state of the art of heuristic application in forest management scheduling. Heuristic approaches are presented and discussed in the framework of forest management scheduling needs. Results from some heuristic research efforts are used to outline the application potential and shortcomings of these techniques.
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