Forest accessing and planning of forest roads used to be based on technical and economic criteria predominantly. However, the criteria of the environment, the quality of the forest ecosystem are also being considered when designing a forest road network nowadays. The aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that the inclusion of the ecological criterion in the optimization design of a forest road network will not change the parameters of forest accessing, nor the economic costs of forest road construction, to a statistically significant degree. Parameters of the forest roads density, the mean skidding distances, the mean geometric skidding distances, the theoretical skidding distances and the efficiency of transport area access were evaluated in seven transport areas in the Czech Republic. These parameters were examined within the current condition of the roads, the optimization design of roads based on technical and economic criteria and the optimization design based on technical and economic criteria with the ecological criterion included. The results show that the proposed optimization of the current forest road network would mean obvious improvement on the road network parameters. At the same time, the values of the parameters were not different in the optimization designs without and with the ecological criterion to a statistically significant degree. This leads to the conclusion that the inclusion of the ecological criterion in the forest access optimization does not necessarily lead to higher costs.
Key words: Forest road network, ecological criterion, forest access parameters.
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