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Use of UAV Data and HEC-RAS Model for Dimensioning of Hydraulic Structures on Forest Roads

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In terms of engineering standards, the dimensions of hydraulic structures such as culverts on forest roads should have the capability to drain the expected maximum discharge for a 50-year return period during their lifespan (i.e., 20 years). In Turkey, Talbot’s formula, as empirical method, has commonly been used in determining the required cross-sectional area (CSA) of the structures. However, in practice, forest road engineers in Turkey do not pay enough attention to their construction with required dimensions calculated by Talbot’s formula. In the present study, the Hydrological Engineering Centre – River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model was used to evaluate the dimensions of installed structures in terms of their ability to drain maximum discharges, with the aim of determining the required dimensions for those that could not meet this requirement. To this purpose, the 6+000 km forest road No. 410 in Acısu Forest Enterprise, Gerede Forest Directorate (Bolu, Turkey) was selected as the study area. In total, 15 small watersheds crossed by the forest road were delineated, with only six of them having cross-drainage structures. The HEC-RAS model geometry was generated by manual unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights at altitudes of 5–15 m, providing very high spatial resolution (<1 cm). The maximum discharges of the watersheds were estimated for the HEC-RAS model using the Rational, Kürsteiner, and Soil Conservation Service-Curve Number (SCS-CN) methods. Maximum discharges of 0.18–6.03 were found for the Rational method, 0.45–4.46 for the Kürsteiner method, and 0.25–7.97 for the SCS-CN method. According to the HEC-RAS hydraulic model CSA simulations, most of the installed culvert CSAs calculated by Talbot’s formula were found to be incapable of draining maximum discharges. The study concluded that the HEC-RAS model can provide accurate and reliable results for determining the dimensions of such structures for forest roads.

Development and Evaluation of Pasture Tree Cutting Robot: Proof-of-Concept Study

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The encroachment of Eastern redcedar (ERC) (Juniperus virginiana L.) onto Great Plains prairies has become a serious threat to ecosystem functioning and grazing productivity. The uncontrolled spread of this invasive tree species has been called a »green glacier« converting grasslands into closed canopy woodlands. A pasture tree cutting robot was developed using a tracked Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV) equipped with a chainsaw bar to mitigate this green glacier dilemma. The prototype was fitted with amperage and voltage sensors to measure average power consumption and peak power requirements of tree cutting. It was evaluated on ERC and Honeylocust trees up to 20 cm in diameter. Cutting energy and time were determined to evaluate energy optimization and cutting time estimates. A pasture tree clearing energy consumption of the developed prototype was estimated for selected tree density/hectare. The prototype robot was successful in cutting down the intended size trees at a manageable power usage.

Productivity and Working Time Structure of Timber Forwarding in Flatland Thinned Pine Stand with the Use of Farm Tractors

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Farm tractors are very popular in Poland and other European countries. When coupled with trailers equipped with a crane with a grapple, they are also used, especially in easily accessible, flat terrain, for timber forwarding in the CTL (Cut-to-Length) method. A comparative analysis of working time and productivity was performed on two forwarding units, consisting of a farm tractor Ursus and a Farma trailer with the load capacity of 6 tons, as well as a farm tractor Valtra Valmet and a Palms trailer with the capacity of 9 tons, which forwarded wood in a mature pine stand. An analysis was done for 64 work cycles with an average load volume of 2.1 m3 for the former unit, and 36 cycles with an average load volume of 7.9 m3 for the latter. The working time structure of both units was similar. During work, tractor operators spent most time, i.e. over 35%, loading the timber, then travelling with the load and unloading. The lowest share in the work cycle, around 5%, belonged to travelling without a load and forwarding. The average forwarding time for the Farma unit amounted to 33 minutes and was about twice shorter than that for the Palms unit, amounting to 64 minutes. The distance covered during loaded travel was the only factor that had a significant influence on the duration of forwarding cycles. The coefficients of correlation between these variables were 0.56–0.76. The net productivity obtained in the operating time of the Palms unit was 7.5 m3×PMH-1 and was almost twice as high as that of the Farma unit, i.e. 3.8 m3×PMH-1. For both units multiple regression models were developed, in which forwarding cycles productivity is calculated based on the volume of the transported load and the distance of loaded travel.

Pre-Feasibility Study of Carbon Sequestration Potential of Land Clearing Stumps Buried Underground

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Stump harvesting for energy has decreased in Finland, and many heat and power plants no longer accept stumps in their fuel portfolio due to fuel quality problems. However Finland is a forested country, and land clearing stumps need to be extracted, e.g. in infrastructure construction projects. If stumps cannot be used for energy production, they are dumped in landfills, where they start to decay and release CO2 into the atmosphere. One option to avoid CO2 emissions would be the burying of stumps underground so that the decaying process of wood would be inhibited in anaerobic conditions. The aim of this study was to define the carbon sequestration potential of stump burying logistics and calculate their CO2-eq emissions to compare them with the emissions of decaying stumps in piles. The analysis was performed as a spreadsheet-based system analysis at a worksite level as a function of time and size of extracted stumps. As a result of the analysis, the emission effiency of the logistics chain based on stumps stored below the ground was good. The net carbon stock varied between 743.7 and 775.0 kg CO2-eq/m3 as a function of stump diameter, when the emissions of the stump burying logistics chain were 49.0 and 17.7 kg CO2-eq/m3 respectively. In the case of a Finnish municipality with an annual accumulation of 1000 m3 of land clearing stumps, the carbon sequestration potential of stumps buried underground is equivalent to the emissions of between 280,000 and 290,000 liters of diesel fuel consumption, depending on the diameter of the extracted stumps and the diesel fuel emission factors for different engine and diesel fuel types.

Workability and Physical Wellbeing Among Chainsaw Operators in Croatia

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Motor-manual felling and wood processing is a high-risk work process where the chainsaw, in connection to other variables in the working environment, is a key and constant source of risk and danger for forest chainsaw operators. Pursuant to the foregoing, the purpose of this research is to investigate and compare detected musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) symptoms among the chainsaw workers in Croatia according to their employer (state company – Hrvatske šume Ltd. or private forestry contractor) and self-evaluated Workability Index. A combined three-stage research method was used: (a) defining a sample; (b) preparation and administration of questionnaire; and (c) data analysis and elaboration. The Standardized Nordic Questionnaire (SNQ) was used as a medium to detect musculoskeletal disorder symptoms in chainsaw operators and the Workability Index (WAI) questionnaire was used as a medium for workability self-evaluation. The field part of face-to-face data collection was conducted in the first quarter of 2022 with a total of 158 sampled workers interviewed directly at the forest worksite. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used to verify and analyze the data. The anatomical area with the highest 12-month period prevalence of MSD symptoms for all chainsaw operators is the low back (70.89%), followed by the shoulders (41.14%), neck (39.87%) and wrist/hands (36.71%). Research results, according to the employer, showed that workers employed by Hrvatske šume Ltd. have a higher prevalence of MSD symptoms in almost all anatomical locations compared to chainsaw operators employed by private forest contractors. Mean WAI Score among all respondents was 34.96 points (max. 49) falling into the rank »moderate«, while the current workability compared with the lifetime best was 7.33 (range 0–10). The results of MSD symptoms confirm the self-estimated higher values related to health problems caused by forestry work and lower WAI Score by workers employed in the state forestry sector compared to workers employed in private forestry sector. The prevalence of MSD symptoms, observed through WAI Score, showed a significantly lower percentage of affirmative responses for all anatomical regions except for shoulders in workers who need to maintain their workability. The obtained results show positive correlation with descriptive indicators, where younger workers with less chainsaw work experience have a lower prevalence of MSD symptoms and better WAI Score. In the discussion and conclusion part of the research in question, the need for development of possible solutions is emphasized. The proposed solutions can be included into educational programs or on-site training related to the MSD risks for professional chainsaw workers to change their behaviour that will reduce occupational risks.

Soil, Driving Speed and Driving Intensity Affect Fuel Consumption of Forwarders

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Fuel consumption is one of the key parameters in mechanised forest operations, particularly on lower bearing capacity soils, as wheel chains or bogie tracks can have a strong effect on it. This study aims to analyse the fuel consumption of several individual wheeled cut-to-length forwarder set-ups with different types of bogie tracks on peatland using automatic recording of data bus information. Two types of forwarders, 8-wheeled and 10-wheeled, and three types of tracks were tested on peatland in Eastern Finland. A mixed-model approach is the basis to study the fuel consumption as a function of the soil bearing capacity, the number of passes of the machine on the same soil, the section (curve or straight) and other variables related to the machine performance and set-up, for a total of N=27,928 fuel observations on three machines in 33 plots (trail segments). The model results in an R2=0.78; the number of passes increases the fuel consumption significantly, while the soil bearing capacity did not affect the fuel consumption. There are, however, important differences between the machines performance, which are addressed in the model. By contributing to the knowledge on the connection between operational conditions and fuel consumption, the study can contribute to the aim towards a sustainable forest operation through minimizing negative environmental impacts and providing the necessary tools for further research efforts.

Skill of Skidding Equipment Operator in Relation to Productivity, Skidding Cost and Subsidence in Peat Swamp Forest Plantation

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Skidding in peat swamp plantation forest requires high skill and alertness, particularly in relation to peat damage, which includes subsidence as such a damage. The objective of this research is to analyze the effect of skidding operator’s skill on productivity, skidding cost and subsidence in peat swamp plantation forest. The method of this research comprised the skidding operation conducted by two different skidding operators with different working experience, followed by measuring the average productivity and skidding cost, measuring the elevation of water table at various points in the peat soil, in the location of logging compartment for 3 years, namely from 2018–2020 (measured every month), and measuring the effect of working skill of the two skidding operators on productivity and cost of skidding and the occurring subsidence rate. Research results show that the average skidding productivity of operator A was higher than that of operator B due to longer working experience of operator A, which was more than 5 years. This high average productivity caused low production cost, namely IDR 28,022 m-3 or EUR 1.653 m-3. Wood volume, skidding distance and operators’ skidding skill affect the average skidding cycle time and cycle time affects the average skidding productivity. Subsidence in 2018 was higher than that in 2019 and 2020, namely 2.8 cm year-1. Wood skidding performed by skidding operators with higher skill can increase skidding productivity and suppress skidding cost.

Operational and Environmental Comparison of Two Felling and Piling Alternatives for Whole Tree Harvesting in Quercus Coppices for Bioenergy Use

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Coppices are a major potential source of forest biomass in Spain, where they occupy around 4M ha. Quercus coppices are mostly neglected because of their high harvesting costs and the small size of their products. This makes them very interesting to test and compare alternative means for utilizing their resources in an optimized way. Hence, a comparative study of motor-manual and mechanized felling and bunching was conducted when thinning dense coppice stands of the two most important oak species in Spain to obtain biomass for bioenergy use. In particular, the study matched chainsaw felling and manual piling against the work of a drive-to-tree feller-buncher previously analyzed in the very same sites. Productivity functions for motor-manual felling and piling were fitted for each species. The derived unit cost functions show that the felling-bunching costs are lower for the motor-manual option in stands of both species, particularly for the smaller tree sizes. Nevertheless, when the strongly reduced loading times in forwarding associated to the mechanization are taken into account, the total harvesting cost is often lower for the mechanized option. That is true for all tree sizes of Q. ilex, and for trees larger than 13 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) for Q. pyrenaica. Residual stand damage was low to moderate, but always significantly greater for the mechanized option compared with the motormanual one. Soil damage was very low for both alternatives. The stumps experimented significantly greater damages in the mechanized felling and bunching, but further research is needed to determine if those damages have any impact on stump mortality, sprouting capability and future plants vigor. The greater productivity and level of tree damages found in Q. ilex when compared to Q. pyrenaica are likely due to the narrower and lighter crown of the latter.

Effects of Changing Drive Control Method of Idling Wood Size Reduction Machines on Fuel Consumption and Exhaust Emissions

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Operating conditions often fluctuate during processing of branches and sawmill offcuts using low-power wood size reduction machines (WSRMs), mainly due to changes in wood supply frequency. This results in relatively high proportions of idling time. Fuel consumption and associated exhaust emissions of WSRMs with combustion engines can be reduced by using innovative drive unit control systems during idling. The objective of the research was to determine the effects of two speed control systems on the fuel consumption and exhaust emissions of a WSRM with a two-cylinder cutting mechanisms driven by a small 9.5 kW spark ignition engine. Speed control system A (commercially available) had a substantially higher rotational speed than system B (an innovative, adaptive solution subject to patent application No. P433586). Pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) wood sawmill offcuts (average cross-sectional area, length and water content: 25×40 mm, 3000 mm and ca. 12

, respectively) were used in system tests at a feed rate of ca. 5 pieces min-1. Material of this size is typically processed by such machines. Operating conditions were monitored by recording the rotational speed and torque. Emissions of harmful exhaust compounds–carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrocarbons (HC), and nitrogen oxides (NOx) – were recorded using a portable emission measurement system. Fuel consumption values were also calculated from the data. The following effects were observed: application of innovative system B resulted in 33% lower fuel consumption, as well as 30%, 37% and 33% lower CO, CO2 and NOx emissions, respectively, than system A, but at the same time 290% higher HC emissions were registered. In operating conditions with higher proportions of idling time, solution B provides even higher reductions in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

Design of a Planting Module for an Automatic Device for Forest Regeneration

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Forest regeneration by means of seedlings grown in container nurseries is usually performed manually with the use of the standard dibble bar or the tube dibble. Manual placement of a large number of seedlings in the soil requires a lot of work. Manual removal of the soil cover and digging the soil in spots with a diameter of 0.4 m requires, under average conditions, about 38 man-hours/ha, while planting with a dibble bar requires about 34 man-hours/ha. Additional work time is needed to carry seedlings over an area that is being afforested. At present, forestry does not have automatic planters that would enable the establishment of forest cultures. The aim of the paper is to present the concept of an autonomous robot and an innovative technology of performing forest regeneration and afforestation of former agricultural and reclaimed areas. The paper also presents the design solutions of the key working unit, which is a universal, openable dibble, cooperating with a three-toothed shaft to prepare a planting spot. The solution proposed enables continuous operation of the machine, i.e. without the need to stop the base vehicle.

Double Bark Thickness Estimation Models of Common European Broadleaved Species for Harvester Timber Volume Estimation in Czechia

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The share of the annual volume of harvester-produced timber in Czech forest bioeconomy has increased in the last decades. To estimate under-bark timber volume, harvester systems allow choosing between two different bark deduction models – diameter band (DBM) and linear model. However, linear models were not calibrated for the conditions of Czech forestry. Therefore, the objective of this research was to develop, for local conditions in Czechia, linear functions for estimating the double bark thickness of two groups of broadleaved species (beech and oak) and to test their viability based on real harvest data. To create the linear functions, official Czech cubing tables were used. Data from real harvests were gathered from fifteen harvesters. A sample containing 4995 logs belonging to the beech group was analyzed using descriptive statistics and the Paired Wilcoxon tests. The mean double bark thickness for beech group was 15.1 mm (polynomial and linear model). For oak group, it was 15.48 mm (polynomial) or 15.49 mm (linear). The results of real harvests for beech group revealed that the mean double bark thickness estimated by the polynomial function was 7.08 mm. The linear function estimates were closer to the value estimated by the polynomial (6.84 mm) than DBM estimates (6.68 mm). Therefore, we can state that the newly developed linear models can be used in fully mechanized harvesting instead of manual bark deduction methods in Czechia.

A Comparison of Two Felling Techniques Considering Stump-Height-Related Timber Value Loss

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Harvest from plantations can provide both industrial wood and forest residues for bioenergy, including stumps. The literature suggests that the choice of cutting system can affect the division between industrial wood recovery and remaining stump volume. In this study, two felling techniques - motor-manual chainsaw and feller-buncher, were compared based on stump-height-related timber value loss for four ground slope classes: high, medium, low, and flat. The economic value loss of wood material for three products - sawlogs, pulpwood, and fiber-chip wood, was determined based on the estimated volume of stumps left in the woods. The results indicated that the average stump height for the motor-manual chainsaw and feller-buncher was 17.16 cm and 8.69 cm. The economic value loss of wood material per stump was higher in felling by manual chainsaw as compared to the feller-buncher operation (log: €0.60­, paper wood: €0.29­, fiber-chip: €0.15­). However, volume loss due to high stumps could contribute to wood for bioenergy if stumps are subsequently removed. Additional research is needed to evaluate the benefits and costs of stump removal for bioenergy as part of a total supply chain to provide both industrial wood and wood for bioenergy.

Design of a Six-Swing-Arm Wheel-Legged Chassis for Forestry and Simulation Analysis of its Obstacle-Crossing Performance

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Obstacle-crossing performance is an important criterion for evaluating the power chassis of forestry machinery. In this paper, a new six-swing-arm wheel-legged chassis (SWC&F) is designed according to the characteristics of forest terrain, using herringbone legs to control the ride comfort and stability of the chassis in the process of crossing obstacles. First, the kinematic model of the SWC&F is established, the coordinate analytical expression of each wheel centre position is derived, and the swing angle range of each wheel leg of the chassis is calculated according to the installation position of the hydraulic cylinder. Next, the control model of the system is constructed, and the obstacle-crossing performance of the SWC&F is analyzed by ADAMS/Simulink co-simulation using the PID control method and conventional control method, respectively. The results show that the maximum obstacle crossing height of the SWC&F can reach 411.1 mm, and the chassis with PID control system has good dynamic response characteristics and smooth motion, which meets the requirements of forest chassis obstacle crossing design. The study can provide the foundation for the practical laws of the physical prototype of the forest vehicle chassis.

Road Network Planning in Tropical Forests Using GIS

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This study intended to develop a road network planning for timber harvesting in tropical forests in Peru using georeferenced and field data and Geographic Information System (GIS). The Digital Elevation Model (DEM) Alos Palsar 12.5 m was used. The DEM was processed to generate the hydrography and terrain slope maps. A weighted raster was created using overlapping weights of the slope raster and the hydrography map. We created a least cost path raster by using the weighted raster origin and destination points. We used a Triangular Irregular Network (TIN) to validate the Least Cost Path. In addition, histograms of the trajectory of each path with altitude and slope values ​​ were generated. We observed that the forest road planning using GIS provided better definition (economically and environmentally) of road networks in our forest site than those traditionally defined using conventional mapping techniques.

LiDAR Scan Density and Spatial Resolution Effects on Vegetation Fuel Type Mapping

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This article presents the performance of a vegetation fuel type (FT) classification based on conditional rules according to the Prometheus system, including an analysis of the effect of cell size and scan density on mapping vertical structural types, exemplified as FT, using exclusively LiDAR data. Since the Prometheus system does not specify any criterion for the minimum extension where those methodologies can be applied, we searched for the optimal classification cell size by gridding the study area at 20 and 40 m cell sizes. We also included a study of the effects of varying the scan density from 2 to 0.5 pulses·m-2. To validate the classification method, we used a stratified random sampling without replacement of 15 cells per FT and made an independent visual assessment of FTs. The best results in terms of precision were obtained for the combination of 0.5 pulses·m-2 and 20 m-resolution dataset, with an overall accuracy of 84.13%. It was also showed that an increase in scan density would not improve the global accuracy of the classification, but it would be desirable for a better detection of the shrub stratum.

Forest Residue Management Impact on Rodent (Rodentia: Murinae, Arvicolinae) Damage in Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur L.) Forests in Croatia

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Small rodents (Rodentia, subfam. Murinae: real mice, Arvicoline voles) greatly affect natural regeneration, stability and dynamics of forest communities worldwide. Every 3–4 years rodent damage in Croatian state forests is the most severe in forest regeneration stands, especially in pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) and narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia Vahl.) forests, where rodents can seriously impede natural regeneration by damaging seeds, stems and roots of saplings. These negative interactions are an even bigger challenge nowdays as pedunculate oak and narrow-leaved ash have become more vunerable in the last decades and are known as the most sensitive species of lowland forests in Croatia due to microclimatic and macroclimatic changes and the unfavourable interaction of a whole series of anthropogenic, abiotic and biotic factors. In the last 40 years, in Croatian state forests, rodent management consisted of monitoring and mainly rodenticide use. Trying to implement IPM (Integrated Pest Management) postulates into practice over the years, different prevention methods against small rodents were tested, but not many came to use. The aim of this research was to look into different logging residue management approaches and their effect on the rodent damage in two pedunculate oak forest regeneration stands in central Posavina in Croatia. Rodent damage on stem and root of tree saplings was recorded by visual inspection on three plots (5x5 m) with scattered logging residue, and one plot (5x5 m) with no residue at one micro-depression site (95 m a.s.l.), and on one micro-elevation (99 m a.s.l.) site. Plots with scattered logging residue represented a type of forest residue management in which logging debris (branches) is cut to smaller lengths and distributed evenly at the forest regeneration stand. Plot with no logging debris represented a residue management method in which wood mass is completely removed from the regeneration stand after felling. We counted, determined and inspected tree saplings found at chosen plots for rodent damage (on stem and roots) and also determined the average weight and moisture content of logging residue (branches around 5–7 cm in diameter) found at the site. In spring 2017, 3380 tree saplings (2978; 81% pedunculate oak, 7; 0.2% narrow-leaved ash and 395; 11.7% other deciduous species) were inspected for rodent damage. At micro-depression site, on a plot with no logging residue, only 13.4% of the saplings were damaged, while the average share of damaged saplings on three plots with scattered residue was more than six times higher; 87.8%. The average mass of the logging residue weighed at site with scattered residue was 10.14 kg kg/m2 and moisture content was 19.2%. At micro-elevation site, 25.4% of the saplings were damaged on a plot with no logging residue, while the average share of damaged saplings on three plots with scattered residue was two times higher; 51.4%. The average mass of the logging residue weighed at SRP 1–3 was 5.1 kg/m2. We also determined moderately strong positive correlation (R=0.69133) between the mass of logging residue and rodent damage and strong negative correlation (R=–0.89598) between wood moisture content of the logging residue and rodent damage. In years ahead, with unpredictable climate effects and potentially very variable small rodent dynamics, removing the logging residue after the felling could represent a residue management that contributes to a more effective and ecologically based rodent management. It could also become a usable preventive method within IPM and help prevent sever rodent damage, even during the outbreaks in pedunculate oak regeneration stands.


Web of Science Impact factor (2021): 2.542
Five-years impact factor: 2.443

Quartile: Q2 - Forestry

Subject area

Agricultural and Biological Sciences