Approximately 1.6 million hectares of southern Brazil are cultivated with pines, and mainly with the loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). More than one third of the stands belong to independent log producers, whose aim is to maximize their economic results. In this study, a thinning experiment was evaluated over a production period of 30 years. The stands evaluated were submitted to three different crown thinning intensities, with an unthinned stand used as a control. The aim of the study was to evaluate economic criteria regarding realistic discount rates and production periods varying between 16-30 years. For the circumstances that were evaluated, 'extreme' and early release from competition of pruned loblolly pine trees lead to the best economic performance (land expectation value = ~36,000 US$ ha-1, i = 3% yr-1). Stands subjected to crown thinnings, independently of intensity, produced three times the economic output of unthinned and unpruned stands. Although the optimal harvest ages, according to the internal rate of return, are between 18-22 years for thinned and unthinned stands, from a long-term perspective (land expectation value) and for the current relationship between log price and size, the optimal economic performance requires that production periods are extended (to 24-26 years) from those currently practised in southern Brazil (15-20 years).
Forest management; Multiple-use management; Land expectation value