An investigation into forest operations planning and into the application of network analysis towards system selection

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University of New Brunswick


The principal objective of this report was to investigate forest operations planning in order to determine if a network analysis approach can be applied to harvesting system selection. The report looked at the developments in operational planning which have led to a current "state-of-the-art" systems engineering planning procedure which utilizes the decision support system concept. A current "state-of-the-art" planning procedure and the "decision support system" concept as applied to forest operations planning was investigated, and determined that in order to achieve cost effective operations planning, the plan must be from a holistic perspective and must apply the "total cost" approach. A network analysis technique which had been suggested for detailed planning of specific tasks and determining the minimum total cost through a network was investigated and the suggested approach was applied to a forest operations planning environment. The resulting network was too large and inappropriate for the intended purpose. In the process of determining the cost inputs required for the network analysis the planner becomes so familiar with the characteristics and conditions of the operation that he/she knows the answer even before the network analysis would have been carried out. In conclusion, a network analysis approach to harvesting system selection is not appropriate. Keywords: Harvesting system selection, network analysis, forest operations planning, systems engineering, decision support system, OP-PLAN™, NETWORK™.