Fragmentation of the forests affects forest ecosystems by changing the composition, shape, and configuration of the resulting patches. Subsequently, the prevailing conditions vary between patches. The exposure to the sun decreases from the patch boundary to the patch interior and this forms core and edge areas within each patch. Forest harvesting and, in particular, the clear-cut management system which is still preferred in many European countries has a significant impact on forest fragmentation. There are many indices of measuring fragmentation: non-spatial and spatial. The non-spatial indices measure the composition of patches, while the spatial indices measure both the shape and configuration of the resulting patches. The effect of forest harvesting on fragmentation, biodiversity, and the environment is extensively studied; however, the integration of fragmentation indices in the harvest scheduling model is a new, novel approach. This paper presents a multi-objective integer model of harvest scheduling for clear-cut management system and presents a case study demonstrating its use. Harvest balance and sustainability are ensured by the addition of constraints from the basic principle of the regulated forest model. The results indicate that harvest balance and sustainability can be also achieved in minimizing fragmentation of forest ecosystems. From the analyses presented in this study, it can be concluded that integration of fragmentation into harvest scheduling can provide better spatial structure. It depends on the initial spatial and age structure. It was confirmed that it is possible to find compromise solution while minimizing fragmentation and maximizing harvested area.
Keywords: Ecological intensification; Forest management; Multi-objective integer programming; Optimization; Spatial indices.