Date of Award

Winter 2020

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Theodore Howard

Second Advisor

Heidi Asbjornsen

Third Advisor

Jeff Garnas


Timber stand improvement (TSI) is one silviculture method that landowners can apply to their forest to enhance timber quality as well as ecosystem services, such as deadwood in the form of standing deadwood, snags, and coarse woody debris (CWD). There are few studies on the economic effectiveness of TSI as a forest management practice. This research uses data collected on land owned by the Blue Hills Foundation, in Strafford, New Hampshire, to present a case study examining economic and ecosystem outcomes of TSI. Because interest rates and market prices are constantly fluctuating, we evaluated outcomes at various interest rates. We have built a model that landowners can use by inputting their own treatment costs, interest rates, and timber values to determine the financial performance of TSI treatment. The results of our study suggest that TSI can be an effective and cost-efficient forest management practice at low interest rates. TSI may also enhance standing deadwood, snags, and CWD, which provide important ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat and carbon storage ability. For this study, TSI increased the volume and number of pieces per acre of these forms of deadwood. We combined information from the deadwood analysis with that of the financial analysis to determine an implicit value of deadwood necessary for net present value to breakeven in our groups where net present value was negative based solely on the timber evaluation.