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Volume 42 No.1

Challenges in Forest Road Maintenance in North America

volume: 42, issue:

Maintenance is a key component of managing a forest road network. Forest road networks in North America are managed to provide economic access to forest resources while minimizing the environmental impacts of those roads. While managers understand the importantance of road maintenance, there is a considerable backlog in the maintenance required on most forest road networks. This article reviews challenges across North America in forest road maintenance. Challenges reviewed include those associated with climate change, changing land use and intermingled ownerships, legacy roads, decision support, and financial barriers.

Periodical Maintenance of Forest Roads with a Mobile Stone Crusher

volume: 42, issue:

Forest road networks are exposed to damage by traffic, climate, timber harvesting and vegetation. To maintain their functionality, they must be maintained regularly. Periodical maintenance is required when the forest road surface layer is deteriorated and eroded. Well-graded material is required for replacing the forest road surface and often has to be sourced from gravel storage areas, which is costly and requires a large number of truck trips. Therefore, converting non-graded aggregate available on site into well-graded aggregate with a mobile stone crusher is considered a viable alternative.

The present study was carried out during a periodical maintenance treatment at the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise and the effect of employing a mobile stone crusher was evaluated with regard to (1) forest road load bearing capacity development during a one-year period post-treatment, (2) particle size distribution of the surface layer material before and after crushing, and (3) its cost compared to other alternatives. Samples were collected pre- and post-operation for particle size distribution analysis, load bearing capacity was measured repeatedly with a light falling weight deflectometer and compared to an untreated reference section and cost of the treatment was compared to two alternatives.

The mobile stone crusher was capable of reducing the non-graded to well-graded/close-to-well-graded material and particle size distributions aligned well with the recommendations for lime-water bonded surfaces. Load bearing capacity exceeded the threshold of 40 MN m-2 (Evd, elastic modulus dynamic) for primary forest roads at all times. It increased significantly after the treatment and remained on a significantly higher level throughout the following year. Absolute and relative increases were higher than on the untreated reference section. The treatment variant involving a mobile stone crusher and material available on site was substantially cheaper (5.31 € m-1) than to supply non-graded (16.29 € m-1) or well-graded (19.82 € m-1) material by truck. Material and transport costs represented 67% and 82% of the total costs in the latter two cases. It can be concluded that mobile stone crushers are capable of producing at least close-to-well-graded forest road surface aggregate and that forest road load bearing capacity can be significantly and lastingly increased at only a part of the costs of the alternatives. A maximum of cost and resource efficiency and environmental soundness can be attained when enough surface aggregate is available on site. If this is not the case, sourcing non-graded material as local as possible is the next best alternative.

Battery Technology – Use in Forestry

volume: 42, issue:

Technical development and system optimization during the last decades have targeted more efficient, socially acceptable and ecologically sustainable ways to use forestry machines and tools. This is supported by the development of electronics and electrical components, as well as battery technology, without which it is impossible to imagine doing some forestry work in forest areas with no permanent source of electricity. Today, we cannot imagine life without e.g. a cell phone, and also doing business in the forestry sector without a field computer. There are numerous examples in everyday life, but also in industry, where portable devices make life and business much easier, and the basis for the operation of these devices is battery technology. The importance of the development of battery technology is proven by the fact that in 2019 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went into the hands of scientists who developed a lithium-ion battery - a lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery that is used today in numerous products from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. This paper will outline the historical development of battery technology and the use of battery powered devices, tools and machines with their advantages and disadvantages in forestry sector.

A Proposal for an Integrated Methodological and Scientific Approach to Cost Used Forestry Machines

volume: 42, issue:

This paper offers a conceptual analysis of the unaccounted-for cost of owning and operating used machines from an operational, financial and market perspective. It is based on input from experts and a literature review. In the scientific literature, assessing the operating cost of used machines in forest operations is typically based on standard cost assessment methods using costing/pricing input from similar unused machines. This is the case since there are usually no historical data for observed used machines available to analyze. This substitute analysis is problematic to many used and depreciated machines owners. The changing trends in forest technology attest that old machinery do not hold to the same input cost data variables or values of new machines. In fact, they belong to two rather competing different markets: (used vs. new equipment markets). With the technological, market and machinery regulations and dynamic changes, the substitute cost analysis is not representative. Better data is required to understand the cost of owning and operating used machines and the justification is the focal point of this paper. The outcome of the expert and literature analysis in this paper demonstrates that a broader understanding of the cost of a used machine is required and doable. A proposed understanding integrates the machine availability (performance), cost factors (financial) and market evaluation (price), in isolation (single piece of machine) as well as in a fleet, to assess a used machine ownership cost. The study is intended to offer forest machine operators, owners, scientists, and practitioners a proposed new approach to value used machines and further investigations and data inputs required to make used machines costing methods more relevant.

Hand-Held Personal Laser Scanning – Current Status and Perspectives for Forest Inventory Application

volume: 42, issue:

The emergence of hand-held Personal Laser Scanning (H-PLS) systems in recent years resulted in initial research on the possibility of its application in forest inventory, primarily for the estimation of the main tree attributes (e.g. tree detection, stem position, DBH, tree height, etc.). Research knowledge acquired so far can help to direct further research and eventually include H-PLS into operational forest inventory in the future. The main aims of this review are:

Þ   to present the current state of the art for H-PLS systems

Þ   briefly describe the fundamental concept and methods for H-PLS application in forest inventory

Þ   provide an overview of the results of previous studies

Þ   emphasize pros and cons for H-PLS application in forest inventory in relation to conventional field measurements and other similar laser scanning systems

Þ   highlight the main issues that should be covered by further H-PLS-based forest inventory studies.

Challenges in Forestry and Forest Engineering – Case Studies from Four Countries in East Europe

volume: 42, issue:

The forestry and timber industry are strong sectors in the economies of European countries. The current trend of introducing forestry management that respects the various functions of the forest has created new challenges. However, forestry itself, as well as those challenges, varies in different regions in Europe. The aim of this review paper was to describe forest resources and their potential as well to define challenges in forestry and forest engineering in regions of East Europe. Case studies were selected from four countries: Croatia, Latvia, Poland and Romania. The background data and information of the forest-based sector included: forest resources and forest productivity, forest utilisation, development of forest operations and difficulties in forest management. In the analysed countries, state-owned forestry was represented by at least 45%. Forestry is an important sector in all four countries and future challenges are observed in forest management and forest engineering mainly including: an increase in timber resources, improvement in species composition for better productivity and the introduction of effective mechanised forest operations in pre-commercial thinning. Further improvement of harvester heads is expected for the harvesting of broadleaved species and for young stands. Issues linked to the environment were also recognised as challenging factors: mild winters make it difficult to use CTL technology on wet and sensitive sites. Additionally, dry seasons have a high impact on forest fire frequency, but this can be controlled by effective monitoring systems. Improvement in IT systems used in forest operations should limit the carbon footprint by optimising transport, machine use and limiting fuel use. Finally, innovations are recognised as key issues in the improvement of forest management and forest engineering; therefore, special budgets have been allocated to support science and development.

Trends and Perspectives in the Design of Mobile Wood Chippers

volume: 42, issue:

Mobile wood chippers represent a mature technology now available in a wide range of sizes and configurations. Different types exist, but the most widespread are disc and drum chippers. The latter have enjoyed wider popularity in recent years because they are best suited to processing logging residue and other low-quality wood. Drum chippers can be fitted with screens, designed to re-circulate oversize particles. In general, industrial chippers offer high productivity and high fuel efficiency, especially if settings are properly adjusted. Chippers are high-maintenance equipment and require proper care. Maintenance cost increases with machine age and can be predicted quite accurately, and so can chipping productivity and cost. Reliable models exist for estimating both maintenance cost and productivity, based on dedicated user-entered assumptions. All things being equal, there are no substantial productivity and maintenance differences between tractor-powered and independent-engine chippers.

Automation and Robotics in Forest Harvesting Operations: Identifying Near-Term Opportunities

volume: 42, issue:

Technology development, in terms of both capability and cost-effective integration, is moving at a fast pace. While advanced robotic systems are already commonplace in controlled workspaces such as factories, the use of remote controlled or autonomous machines in more complex environments, such as for forest operations, is in its infancy. There is little doubt autonomous machinery will play an important role in forest operations in the future. Many machine functions already have the support of automation, and the implementation of remote control of the machine where an operator can operate a piece of equipment, typically in clear line-of sight, at least is commonly available. Teleoperation is where the operator works from a virtual environment with live video and audio feedback from the machine. Since teleoperation provides a similar operator experience to working in the machine, it is relatively easy for an operator to use teleoperation. Autonomous systems are defined by being able to perform certain functions without direct control of a human operator. This paper presents opportunities for remote control, teleoperated machines in forest operations and presents examples of existing developments and ideas from both forestry and other industries. It identified the extraction phase of harvesting as the most logical placement of autonomous machines in the near-term. The authors recognise that, as with all emerging technologies and sectors, there is ample scope for differences in opinions as to what will be commercially successful in the future.

Roundwood and Biomass Logistics in Finland and Sweden

volume: 42, issue:

Logistics of roundwood and biomass comprise a high number of operations, machinery, storage sites and transportable roundwood and biomass assortments. Moreover, complex and highly varying operational environment through the year poses logistics challenges incurring additional costs. An extensive review of studies was conducted in Sweden and Finland concerning roundwood and biomass logistics, starting from roadside landings and ending with delivery to a mill or a conversion facility. The main aim of the review was to describe trends in roundwood and biomass logistics since the start of the century. Papers were classified to categories of truck transports and roads, terminals, multimodal transports, storage and supply chain logistics. Slightly over 50% of reviewed articles were constrained to biomass only, 31% to roundwood only and 14% to both. Rapid technology development, amendments concerning road transports, increasing environmental concerns and forestry sector’s push to decrease the logistics costs can be seen as the biggest drivers for the reviewed studies and their study objectives. These aspects will also drive and increase the demand for research and development in roundwood and biomass logistics in the future.

A System for Quality Assessment of Forestry Contractors

volume: 42, issue:

Skilled contractors are needed to meet the increased demand for wood and to maintain a competitive edge in forestry. The structure of the forest industry has changed significantly. Today’s situation favours smaller contractors that are more flexible. Worldwide contractors are important for forest operations, but there is often limited knowledge about how well they fulfil demands about resource efficiency, social responsibility and environmental protection. The aim of this paper is to present the guidelines for the assessment of forestry contractors following sustainability principles and to present a recently developed system. In addition to the requirements for professional competences and legislative obligations, the system proposes a number of additional requirements such as corporate social responsibility, participation in the local community and greater environmental responsibility. The forestry contractor and the certification body sign a cooperation agreement to obtain the expert assessment. The expert assessment is performed by an evaluator authorised by a certification body. A web service has been introduced with the purpose of serving as a communication tool between professional evaluators and forestry contractors, as well as providing a new possibility for forest owners to get direct contact with forestry contractors. The system enables its users to exert influence on the assessment of forestry contractors by assessing the quality of their services. Private forests would greatly benefit from customer feedback information on the service quality. By now, 1584 forest contractors have registered in Slovenia, where 67% provide the service of cutting and skidding, 8% provide woodchipper service, 7% transport of round wood, 5% cable crane yarding and 4% fully mechanised harvesting. Until June 2020, 142 forest contractors have gone through the process of quality assessment.

Pavement Engineering for Forest Roads: Development and Opportunities

volume: 42, issue:

Pavement is an essential component of roads as it carries the traffic and provides the required riding comfort. Considering that numerous forest roads are approaching their end of life, the critical issue is identifying the best rational pavement design methods to reengineer existing and build new pavement structures. The purpose of this contribution was (1) to review the big development lines of pavement systems, (2) to have a critical look at the pavement engineering framework, and (3) to bring selected empirical design equations into a comparable scheme. The study resulted in the following significant findings. First, the Trésaguet and McAdam pavement systems represented the state of the art from the beginning of a formal forest road engineering discipline at the beginning of the 19th century and remained for almost 150 years. Second, the emergence of soil mechanics as a scientific discipline in the 1920s resulted in the optimal grading of aggregates and improvement of soils and aggregates with binders, such as lime, cement, and bitumen. Third, the rational pavement design consists of five essential components: (1) bearing resistance of the subsoil, (2) bearing resistance of the pavement structure, (3) lifecycle traffic volume, (4) uncertainties that amplify deterioration, and (5) the limit state criterion, defining thresholds, above which structural safety and serviceability are no longer met. Fourth, rational, formal pavement design approaches used for forest roads were »downsized« from methodologies developed for high-volume roads, among which the approaches of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are of primary interest. Fifth, the conversion of the AASHTO '93 and USACE '70 methods into the SI system indicated that both equations are sensitive to soil bearing resistance, measured in California Bearing Ratio (CBR). However, there is a lack of validation for the AASHTO and USACE equations for forest road conditions. Consequently, a factorial observational study to gain a basis for validation should be developed and implemented. Additionally, the conversion of simple soil bearing resistance measures, such as CBR, into the resilient modulus will be improved.

A review of Sensors, Sensor-Platforms and Methods Used in 3D Modelling of Soil Displacement after Timber Harvesting

volume: 42, issue:

Proximal sensing technologies are becoming widely used across a range of applications in environmental sciences. One of these applications is in the measurement of the ground surface in describing soil displacement impacts from wheeled and tracked machinery in the forest. Within a period of 2–3 years, the use photogrammetry, LiDAR, ultrasound and time-of-flight imaging based methods have been demonstrated in both experimental and operational settings. This review provides insight into the aims, sampling design, data capture and processing, and outcomes of papers dealing specifically with proximal sensing of soil displacement resulting from timber harvesting. The work reviewed includes examples of sensors mounted on tripods and rigs, on personal platforms including handheld and backpack mounted, on mobile platforms constituted by forwarders and skidders, as well as on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The review further highlights and discusses the benefits, challenges, and some of the shortcomings of the various technologies and their application as interpreted by the authors.

The majority of the work reviewed reflects pioneering approaches and innovative applications of the technologies. The studies have been carried out almost simultaneously, building on little or no common experience, and the evolution of standardized methods is not yet fully apparent. Some of the issues that will likely need to be addressed in developing this field are (i) the tendency toward generating apparently excessively high resolution micro-topography models without demonstrating the need for or contribution of such resolutions on accuracy, (ii) the inadequacy of conventional manual measurements in verifying the accuracy of these methods at such high resolutions, and (iii) the lack of a common protocol for planning, carrying out, and reporting this type of study.

Publishers:
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Web of Science Impact factor (2019): 2.500
Five-years impact factor: 2.077

Quartile: Q1 - Forestry

Subject area

Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Category/Quartile

Forestry/Q1