Abolfazl Jaafari; Akbar Najafi;Mónica García Melón
The importance of environmental and economical aspects in sustainable forest management (SFM), demands a continuing need for the application of efficient methods in this field. In this paper, we applied analytic network process (ANP) with benefits, opportunities, costs, and risks (BOCR) to evaluate four existing wood extraction methods (rubber-tired skidder, tracked skidder, cable logging and animal skidding) and select the best one based on SFM strategies in the Caspian (Hyrcanian) Forest, in northern Iran. The required data were obtained either from the previous studies or through pairwise comparisons conducted by a panel of forest engineering experts. Based on the BOCR subnetworks and their corresponding criteria, four alternatives were synthesized. ANP analysis indicated that the benefits and risks were more important in terms of decision-making, compared to the opportunities and costs. Finally, the alternative of 'rubber-tired skidder' was selected as the most suitable method for meeting SFM strategies. The decision framework proposed in this study offers a means for the reorganizing and planning of timber harvesting operations as an integral step toward SFM. By making minor adjustments for local conditions, this decision framework can be adapted for many other regions and countries. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.