عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: Forests are the most complete, valuable and diverse vegetation on the earth. In the current situation, compliance with the principle of sustainability in forest exploitation requires giving sufficient opportunity for trees to regenerate and re-grow, which is possible by using alternative sources to meet the growing need for wood. Iran is located in a region where the share of forest lands in its country sides is insignificant. In addition to natural and human factors, the most important factor in the destruction of Iran's forests is the unauthorized exploitation of the forests and the supply of industrial wood for various purposes. Wood farming with hardy species outside of natural stands can be the best factor for reducing the pressure on forests and meeting the needs of industries and economic prosperity. The approach of stopping the exploitation of commercial forests in the north of the country on the one hand and the high costs of importing wood due to exchange rate fluctuations on the other hand has doubled the necessity and importance of wood farming in Iran. Optimum planning in this sector and identification of suitable potential investment plans require a fundamental evaluation of the plans. Therefore, with the aim of predicting the result of the implementation of wood farming projects and determining the criteria and basis for investment decisions in this area, this study was conducted the economic evaluation of wood farming projects in three provinces of the country using discount criteria.
Materials and Methods: Project evaluation methods are classified into two main groups, the first group of which is static methods in evaluating investment plans. Static methods are simple methods in which non-deductive criteria are used. The most important feature of these indicators and criteria is that the time factor is not considered in their calculations. But in the second group, which is called dynamic methods, the factor of time and life span of the plan is considered, and discount criteria and indices are used. In this study, dynamic methods such as the common criteria of Net Present Value (NPV), Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) were used for the economic evaluation of wood farming development plans. The required data and information were collected by referring to the Organization of Forests, Pastures and Watershed Management in 2021. Totally, the information on seven plans with different cultivated areas was obtained from three provinces of the country. Incomes and expenses were calculated for each of the years of operation, discounted according to the base year of zero; then, the economic evaluation of the project was done. It is also worth mentioning that five percent of the total cost of inputs and services was added to the total cost of each plan as an unforeseen cost. The discount rate in the calculations was considered equal to 22 percent and the calculations were done using Excel software.
Results and Discussion: Examining the amount of cost and income indicated that the Agh-ghala plan had the largest cost of planting among the plans; and in terms of harvesting cost, the same plan was also among the most expensive plans. On the other hand, it had the lowest amount of income per hectare in both exploitation periods. The highest income earned in the first period of exploitation belongs to the Yampi plan with 13655400 thousand IRI rials per hectare, and in the second period of exploitation belongs to the Kordkouy plan with 2394929 thousand IRI rials per hectare. Qasr Shirin with 86,310 and 49,266 thousand IRI rials had the lowest cost of planting and harvesting in the first period, respectively, and the Ravand plan had the lowest cost of harvesting in the first period with 17,358.8 thousand IRI rials per hectare. The calculation of the net present value of the plans indicated that this criterion was positive in six plans and negative in the Agh-ghala plan. This means that for the assumed discount rate, the present value of the benefit flow in the Agh-ghala plan is smaller than the present value of the cost flow and the benefit will not be enough to compensate the costs. In this case, it is better to save the desired capital in the bank with the assumed interest rate or invest in a more useful plan. Kordkouy project with 2,260,726 thousand IRI rials had the highest net present value among the projects, and Gonbad Kavus, Ravand and Qasr Shirin projects were in the next ranks, respectively. Regarding the criterion of internal rate of return, all plans (with the exception of the Agh-ghala plan) had a rate of return equal to or greater than the opportunity cost of capital (22 percent) and hence investing in these plans will be profitable. The results showed that the implementation of six plans out of the seven reviewed projects had economic justification and would bring profitability at the end of the exploitation period.
Conclusions: Considering the possibility of regrowth of trees after cutting in the second period of exploitation, it is recommended to plant trees in areas such as the northern regions of the country where due to the favorable environmental conditions, the growth rate of the trees is very high. In this case, many of the costs of the first period, which are done by direct planting of seedlings, will no longer exist. Also, the rapid growth of trees in the second period will lead to early income for the project. Irrigation costs were one of the major costs of wood farming, especially in the Ravand plan. Basically, it is not recommended to use treated wastewater for the irrigation of agricultural crops. But due to the non-edible use of wood in wood farming projects, the use of wastewater in this type of agriculture is unimpeded and will save water consumption and irrigation costs. The establishment and development of contract farming in wood farming projects can provide the required liquidity and inputs, the necessary support to the operators during the long period of farming and the necessary guarantee for purchasing of products by industries.