With the understanding that there is a large "unknown quantity" factor in this question, how does one go about estimating and planning for a consumption and re-growth rate for a sustainable woodlot? I realize that the "unknown quantity" of the consumption rate will be the driving factor, but there are other factors that should be knowable, and those factors can be plugged into the planning function.
Are softwoods (fir, pine, hemlock, etc.) better to plan with than hardwoods (maple, oak, alder)? They seem to grow faster, but do you get more energy out of the hardwoods, and therefore they are the better ones?What about coppicing? Maple can be coppiced well. Is it a good forestry management technique?If I harvest an acre of 40-year-old trees, do I get more than twice as much wood as I do from 20-year old trees? If so, that would seem to mean that I need to plan for either twice as much acreage of woodlot or half the consumption rate. Or something.If coppicing is used, how much wood can be harvested year-over-year per acre?
Let's use the Pacific Northwest as the location for starters (which is relevant to climate, wood species, etc.). Here are some sample questions (feel free to add your own):
I realize that every answer here will have an "-ish" factor to it, and I'm really posting this here as a discussion topic rather than looking for a true answer. Still, it seems worth discussing.