The COST model for calculation of forest operations costs

Ackerman, P.; Belbo, H.; Eliasson, L.; Jong, J.J. de; Lazdins, A.; Lyons, J.


Since the late nineteenth century when high-cost equipment was introduced into forestry there has been a need to calculate the cost of this equipment in more detail with respect to, for example, cost of ownership, cost per hour of production, and cost per production unit. Machine cost calculations have been made using various standard economic methods, where costs have been subdivided into capital costs and operational costs. Because of differences between methods and between national regulations, mainly regarding tax rules and subsidies, international comparisons of machine costs are difficult. To address this, one of the goals of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action FP0902 was to establish a simple format for transparent cost calculations for machines in the forest biomass procurement chain. A working group constructed a Microsoft Excel–based spreadsheet model which is easy to understand and use. Input parameters are easy to obtain or possible to estimate by provided rules of thumb. The model gives users a simultaneous view of the input parameters and the resulting cost outputs. This technical note presents the model, explains how the calculations are made, and provides future users with a guide on how to use the model. Prospective users can view the model in the Supplementary Material linked to this article online.