Harvesting systems and technologies

Productivity Model for Cut-to-Length Harvester Operation in South African Eucalyptus Pulpwood Plantations

volume: 39, issue: 1

There has been a concerted shift from traditional motor-manual and semi-mechanised timber
harvesting systems to mechanised cut-to length (CTL) operations in South Africa. This is
particularly true in Eucalyptus pulpwood felling and processing, South Africa’s largest commercial
wood resources used in the pulp and paper industry. Mechanisation improvements
are typically driven by increasing safety regulations, product quality and productivity concerns
related to traditional harvesting systems. The objective of this study is to develop productivity
models for mechanised Eucalyptus pulpwood CTL felling and processing operations by combining
the results of a number of individual studies done over a period of 24 months in the summer
rainfall areas of South Africa. The study takes into account species, machine type (purpose
built vs. excavator based), silvicultural practices (planted vs. coppiced) and slope. The pooled
data revealed general productivity ranges from 5.16 m3 PMH-1 to 27.49 m3 PMH-1.


Productivity and Costs of Harwarder Systems in Industrial Roundwood Thinnings

volume: 39, issue: 1

In several studies, the harwarder has proven to be a more cost-effective wood harvesting system
than the traditional two-machine (harvester-forwarder) system, especially when the average
stem size of the marked stand is relatively small, the removals per hectare/stand low (i.e. the
harvesting site small), and the forwarding distance short. One of the strengths of a harwarder
is considered to be the lower relocation costs compared to the two-machine system. The time
consumption of harwarder relocations have not, however, been reported in the previous harwarder
studies. Metsäteho Oy conducted a follow-up study of harwarders in industrial roundwood
harvesting, and also investigated the relocations of harwarders. A total of five – three
Ponsse Wisent Dual and two Valmet 801 Combi – harwarders were examined in the follow-up
study. The amount of harvested industrial roundwood in the study totalled nearly 30,000 m3.
The cost calculations showed that the harwarder system is more competitive than the twomachine
system when the average stem size of the marked stand is relatively low, i.e. less than
110–170 dm3. Furthermore, harwarders were the most competitive at low-removal harvesting
sites. The proportion of the total working time of harwarders used in relocations between harvesting
sites was 2.5%, and the effective relocation time was, on the average, 1.3 hours/relocation.
The study results underlined that it makes sense to harvest relatively small-removal and
small-diameter thinning stands marked for harvesting with a harwarder while, conversely, it
is more worthwhile to harvest sites with larger removals and trees using a two-machine harvester-
forwarder system, thereby raising the profitability of forest machine business.

Middle-Term Сhanges in Topsoils Properties on Skidding Trails and Cutting Strips after Long-Gradual Cutting: a Case Study in the Boreal Forest of the North-East of Russia

volume: 39, issue: 1

In this work, physical and chemical properties of the upper horizons of podzolic light loamy
soil were investigated 21–23 years after forest cutting. This was after the first shift of long-term,
gradual felling was carried out by tree-length logging in wintertime in mixed conifer stands
of the Middle Taiga of the Arkhangelsk Region in Russia. The increased density of the forest
litter composition was observed. This was especially the case on skidding trails. On the forest
floor of skidding trails subjected to a greater stress caused by timber skidding, lower total
porosity and aeration porosity was observed, in comparison with the cutting strip and natural
forest. It was established that timber skidding during wintertime does not affect the density of
podzolic horizon composition. An inverse pattern was observed here: the total porosity and
the aeration porosity became higher and were close to the optimum values for plant growth
(54.16–52.99% and 15.72–19.97%). In the podzolic horizon on skid roads, comparison to the
natural forest showed a significant reduction of phosphorus mobile forms and an increase in
the amount of absorbed bases, which is the result of grassy vegetation overgrowth and natural
birch regeneration. On skidding trails and cutting strips, the organic matter content and total
nitrogen significantly increased, which is related to a change of light intensity, the composition
of living ground cover and vigorous decompositions of the organic horizon and woody residues.
In cutting areas, a system mosaic of soil cover developed, which differed according to favourable
conditions for tree species regeneration, compared to the control stands.

Tractive Performance of Tyres in Forest Conditions – Impact Assessment of Ground and Tyres Parameters

volume: 39, issue: 1

This article deals with the assessment of traction properties of tyres on forest grounds. The
research was carried out on skid trails located in pine stands. The tested grounds were different
due to the cover of the soil and its mechanical properties. The study also deals with the
evaluation of ways to improve traction by reducing the inflation pressure and using the tyre
chain. The research was carried out using a specialized traction test stand for two tyres (9.5–24
and 400/55–22.5) different in width and tread pattern. The studies showed significant effect
of ground conditions on traction. As a result of changes in the ground conditions, the values
of drawbar force, rolling resistance and tractive efficiency were altered by 25%, 23% and 6%,
respectively. The higher values of the drawbar force and tractive efficiency on all tested trails
were obtained for 400/55–22.5 tyre. Both the use of tyre chains and the reduction of inflation
pressure resulted in the increase in drawbar force and tractive efficiency. A better way to improve
traction properties was the reduction of the tyre inflation pressure, which caused the
increase in drawbar force and tractive efficiency. The use of tyre chains caused an increase in
drawbar force over the entire slip range, while an increase in tractive efficiency has only been
shown for the slip larger than 15%.

Including Exogenous Factors in the Evaluation of Harvesting Crew Technical Efficiency using a Multi-Step Data Envelopment Analysis Procedure

volume: 39, issue: 2

The performance of a harvesting crew in terms of its ability to transform inputs into outputs
is influenced by discretionary factors within the unit’s control, such as the selection of machines
and operators. However, factors associated with the operating environment, such as
terrain slope and tree size that are outside the direct control of management, can also influence
harvesting system efficiency. Using data on forest harvesting operations in New Zealand, this
paper applies an established four-stage Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) procedure to estimate
the managerial efficiency of independent forest harvesting contractors, while taking into
account the influence of the operating environment. The performance of 67 harvesting contractors
is evaluated using seven inputs, one output (system productivity) and three operating
environment factors in an input-oriented, variable return to scale DEA. The results show that
the operating environment including terrain slope, log sorts and piece size influence the efficient
use of inputs by harvesting contractors. A significant difference is observed between the
mean managerial efficiency of the crews before and after controlling for the influence of the
operating environment, the latter being higher by 11%. This study provides evidence that
without accounting for the influence of the operating environment, the resulting DEA efficiency
estimates will be biased; the performance of crews in favourable operating environment
would be overestimated and those in unfavourable environment underestimated.

Productivity, Efficiency and Environmental Effects of Whole-Tree Harvesting in Spanish Coppice Stands Using a Drive-to-Tree Disc Saw Feller-Buncher

volume: 39, issue: 2

Whole tree harvesting was conducted on two coppice stands with different tree composition
(Q. ilex and Q. pyrenaica) in gentle terrain. Felling and bunching were performed by a
drive-to-tree wheeled feller-buncher with disc saw head. Operations were analyzed on 17 plots
25x25 m2 in order to develop productivity models and to assess operational costs. The study
also aimed at determining biomass collection efficiency and evaluating the impact of the new
harvesting method on the soil, the remaining trees and stumps. The treatment consisted in a
strong coppice thinning leaving standards. Productivity ranged from 2.8 to 4.6 odt/pmh in
the Q. ilex coppice, and from 0.9 to 2.6 in the Q. pyrenaica stand. Tree species, dry weight
per tree and percentage of removed basal area were the main independent variables affecting
productivity. Approximately 50% of the standards showed damages. Most wounds were light,
caused by the drive-to-tree work pattern, followed through GPS tracking. Soil damage was
also light; in no plots, deep disturbances were found. However, most of the stumps were damaged.
Forwarding and chipping productivity and cost were also evaluated. The slash left on
the terrain averaged 3.0 and 1.5 odt/ha in Q. ilex and Q. pyrenaica, respectively, including
scrub debris. As a conclusion, while this heavy feller-buncher can be useful in coppice heavy
thinnings with larger trees, it would be a good option to try lighter disc saw felling heads
mounted on the harvester boom tip, which probably would reach better productivity and reduce
the frequency of stand damage.

Investigation of Log Length Accuracy and Harvester Efficiency in Processing of Oak Trees

volume: 39, issue: 2

Harvester use in broadleaves has recently become more effective economically. However, difficulties
with delimbing have shown that not all harvesting heads are suitable and efficient for
broadleaved species. The typical obstacles are mainly large tree sizes, bends and forks in the
trunks and large branches. For these reasons, it is difficult to obtain specific log lengths according
to the settings in the harvester on-board computer. The objective of the research was
to determine: 1) the accuracy of the log lengths from the bottom, middle and top parts of oak
trees, and 2) harvester efficiency in the utilisation of the trunk for logs. The research was carried
out on 61-year-old oaks from which logs with an expected length of 250 cm were processed.
To achieve this length, a margin of error was set in the harvester computer with minimum
and maximum lengths of 252 and 257 cm. For thinning operations, a Ponsse Ergo harvester
with a H7 harvesting head was used. After harvesting, manual log measurements were carried
out on 280 logs: 69, 142 and 69, from bottom, middle and top parts of the trees, respectively.
The largest share of assortments satisfying the minimum requirement of 250–257 cm was
obtained from the middle part of the trees (93%), followed by bottom logs (91%) and top logs
(88%). The highest frequency of logs, which were too short, were found to be the top logs (9%),
while bottom logs were most often too long (6%); therefore, different length settings should be
applied to limit such inaccuracies. Analysis of the last log from the highest part of the tree
indicated a strong goodness of fit between the top diameter and the DBH; the mean value of
the top diameter was 13.3 cm over bark.

Impact of Season and Harvester Engine RPM on Pine Wood Damage from Feed Roller Spikes

volume: 39, issue: 2

Harvesters have become a common solution for wood harvesting in coniferous and broadleaved
stands. Unfortunately, not every customer will accept logs with damage on the lateral surface
of the roundwood caused by feed roller spikes. The extent of the wood damage caused by the spikes
of harvester heads depends mainly on the type of feed rollers and tree species. The objective of the
study was to investigate the external damage to pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) roundwood from
harvester head spikes depending on the season of the year and harvester engine RPM, as well as
the significance and potential consequences of such damage. The scope of the study also included
an analysis of wood damage depth in three stem sections. The experimental plots selected
were all in an 85-year-old pure pine stand. Logging was performed using a Ponsse Beaver harvester
with an H60e harvester head manufactured in 2006. The mean depth of wood damage at
all the points of measurement was 4.1 mm, while the maximum depth of wood damage totalled
5.3 mm. The depth of wood damage depended on the season of the year in which the logging work
was performed, the harvester engine RPM and the stem section from which the log was processed.
The damage was the deepest during summer operations and the shallowest during winter and
springtime. The differences were statistically significant, however, the difference in the depth of
damage was only 1 mm in average. Deeper wood damage was found at a lower engine RPM.
Wood damage depth differed axially, and the least damage was found in the bottom logs.

Tensile Force Monitoring on Large Winch-Assist Forwarders Operating in British Columbia

volume: 39, issue: 2

The forest industry around the world is facing common challenges in accessing wood fiber on
steep terrain. Fully mechanized harvesting systems based on specialized machines, such as
winch-assist forwarders, have been specifically developed for improving the harvesting performances
in steep grounds. While the mechanization process is recognized as a safety benefit,
the use of cables for supporting the machine traction needs a proper investigation. Only a few
studies have analyzed the cable tensile forces of winch-assist forwarders during real operations,
and none of them focused on large machines normally used in North America. Consequently,
a preliminary study focused on tensile force analysis of large winch-assist forwarders was
conducted in three sites in the interior of British Columbia during the fall of 2017.
The results report that in 86% of the cycles, the maximum working load of the cable was less
than one-third of the minimum breaking load. The tensile force analysis showed an expected
pattern of minimum tensile forces while the forwarders were traveling or unloading on the
road site and high tensile forces when operating on steep trails, loading or traveling. Further
analysis found that the maximum cycle tensile forces occurred most frequently when the
machines were moving uphill, independently of whether they were empty or loaded. While the
forwarders were operating on the trails, slope, travel direction, and distance of the machines
from the anchor resulted statistically significant and able to account for 49% of tensile force
variability. However, in the same conditions, the operator settings accounted for 77% of the
tensile force variability, suggesting the human factor as the main variable in cable tensile force
behavior during winch-assist operations.

Productivity and Cost Analysis of Three Timber Extraction Methods on Steep Terrain in Thailand

volume: 39, issue: 2

Steep terrain harvesting in Thailand has low productivity because of the shortage of suitable
logging extraction methods. Common methods involve extraction using manpower on steep
slopes where machines cannot operate. This study compared the utilization of log chutes against
manpower and mule methods with regard to productivity and cost-efficiency in the same logging
compartment in Northern Thailand. The extraction methods were divided into work elements
and data were collected based on described work cycles. The log chutes clearly had the highest
productivity (2.29 m3/h) compared to the other methods. The hourly cost was lowest using
manpower and the highest cost was using the log chute. However, the unit cost indicated the
most economic method was the log chute (THB 72.40/m3) and the least was using mule extraction.
From a logging contractor point of view, the log chute method helps reduce the number of
working days during the harvesting season and provides a higher profit for business.

Production of Wood Chips from Logging Residue under Space-Constrained Conditions

volume: 39, issue: 2

A study was conducted on chip production from logging residue left after a cable yarder operation.
The logistics were managed with tractor and trailer units (shuttles). The study specifically
dealt with a very difficult case of space constrained operations, further expanding the
knowledge about chip supply in extreme work conditions. The focus of the investigation was
also extended to the shuttles. The study tested a production chain, in which only 3 machines
(1 chipper, 2 shuttles) were used to minimize operational costs. The use of 2 shuttles was decisive,
reducing shuttle delays. The chips produced had an average moisture content of 40.2 ±3.1%.
Particle size distribution shows an unfavorable composition. The content of accepts is as low
as 72%, while oversized particles get up to 5.4% and fines rise to a maximum of 24%. The
estimated net productivity of the whole system was 11.5 t PMH-1, corresponding to a gross
productivity of 11.1 t SMH-1. The cost of the whole operation amounted to 21.2 €t-1.

Dynamic Soil Pressures Caused by Travelling Forest Machines

volume: 39, issue: 2

Machines travelling in forest stands cause dynamic loading of soil, the size of which depends
on a multitude of factors such as terrain ruggedness, machine speed, axle load and tyre inflation
pressure. To decide on harvesting and transport machines suitable for specific field conditions,
it is necessary to have at least some awareness about their dynamic effects on the soil,
which sometimes considerably differ from static values measured on standing machines. The
paper deals with the method of determining dynamic ground pressures according to the given
parameters of vehicle weight and speed. At the same time, it compares dynamic pressures
calculated by using this method with actually measured values.

Comparison of Productivity, Cost and Chip Quality of Four Balanced Harvest Systems Operating in a Eucalyptus globulus Plantation in Western Australia

volume: 40, issue: 1

There have been few comparative harvest system studies to provide a basis to understand the
performance and chip quality of harvest systems used in eucalypt plantations.
The study compared the CTL – cut-to-length method at the stump, WTM – whole tree method
where trees were processed to logs at roadside, IFC-DDC – infield chipping using a debark/
delimb/chipper, IFC-F/C – infield chipping using a separate flail and chipper harvest systems
on a single site in south-west Western Australia.
The WTM and IFC-F/C harvest systems were the most productive. The productivity of the
CTL and IFC-DDC harvest systems was about 25% less than that of the other harvest systems.
The CTL harvest system produced wood at the highest cost resulting from it having a large
number of machines without a correspondingly high productivity level. However, the CTL
harvest system has advantages over the other systems through retaining evenly distributed
logging residues, low machinery impact on the site and flexibility to add or subtract machines
as conditions change.
Two limitations of this study were that the harvest systems were only compared at a single
mean tree size and operator performance differences may have influenced harvest system
productivity. Previous studies have found that the balance of machines in a harvest system
can change with changes in mean tree size. This is an area where further research is required.
Wood chip samples from three of the four harvest systems did not meet the company chip
specifications. However, the deviations from the specifications were minor.

South African Pine Cut-to-Length Harvesting: an Analysis of Fibre Loss and Productivity

volume: 40, issue: 1

A study was conducted in Pinus elliottii and Pinus patula clear-felling stands in the Southern
Cape and Mpumulanga forestry regions of South Africa. A hybrid harvester was observed
over four compartments in a cut-to-length system in order to assess its productivity as well as
its precision with regards to potential fibre loss while processing Pinus elliottii and Pinus patula
for sawlog production. Potential fibre loss results show that the harvester contributes minimally
through inaccurate cross-cutting, accounting for 1.5% of the total wood volume processed.
Converted to a cost, this indicated losses up to € 0.18 m–3 for P. elliottii and € 1.61 m–3
for P. patula. Additionally, the machines were found to be more productive when working with
P. elliottii (32.12 m3 SMH–1) than P. patula (17.55 m3 SMH–1). Based on these findings, the
loss was estimated at up to € 22 650 and € 101 530 y–1 for P. elliottii and P. Patula, respectively.
Species showed to have a significant impact on the processing accuracy, with cross-cutting of
P. patula stems being less precise than P. elliottii. This was attributed to the species’ tendency
to grow thicker branches, although differences in harvesting conditions could have contributed.
Results suggest that harvesting P. patula stands in a CTL system requires more caution since
these can be associated with higher economic losses, and lower productivities. Considering the
recent growth of mechanised CTL harvesting, this study hopefully aids in exploring the efficacy
of a system, which has gone largely untested to date in South African conditions.

Cost Analysis of Innovative Biomass Harvesting Systems for Young Dense Thinnings

volume: 40, issue:

The objective was to analyze three innovative harvesting systems for early thinnings and compare forest-to-industry supply costs. FlowConv consists of a harvester equipped with an innovative continuously cutting, accumulating and bunching head (the FlowCut head), a forwarder and a truck to transport loose tree-parts. FlowFix consists of a harvester equipped with the same cutting head but also a bundling unit (the Fixteri system), plus a forwarder and roundwood truck for biomass transport. FlowCin consists of a new conceptual biomass harvester (the Cintoc system) equipped with the same cutting head and a second crane to pass the cut trees from the front of the machine to a bundling unit at the back, plus the same forwarding and trucking units as in the FlowFix system. Empirical data were used to assess the FlowConv system’s performance, while the FlowFix and FlowCin systems’ performance was simulated.

Results indicate that supply costs of the FlowCin system would be 6–10% and 24–29% lower than those of the FlowFix and FlowConv systems, respectively. Thus, it would be more suitable to be equipped with an innovative cutting head, which is up to 100% more efficient than the current commercially available options. Key features of the Cintoc-based system (which minimize possible waiting times during operation) include its buffering cradle and delivery of biomass acquired in two cutting crane cycles to the intermediate delivering crane. The apparent superiority of the FlowCin system is consistent with previous conclusions regarding developments needed to maximize the cost-effectiveness of harvesting young dense stands.

Assessing Cable Tensile Forces and Machine Tilt of Winch-Assisted Forwarders on Steep Terrain under Real Working Conditions

volume: 40, issue:

Winch-assisted forwarders are now commonly accepted as an innovative alternative for extracting wood on challenging terrain. In order to assess safety risks, it is necessary to know the tensile forces in the steel wire rope and their interaction with the machine tilt under real working conditions. In this study, the tensile force and the machine tilt of two winch-assisted forwarders (John Deere 1210E and Komatsu 840TX) were observed for about 15 work hours without delays on two different stands in Austria. The tensile force data and the machine tilt data were separated by work elements. The mean tensile force ranged from 18.1 kN for unloading up to 56.8 kN for loading activities. During the measurements, the cable tensile force exceeded 50% of the minimum breaking strength (MBS) only twice. The maximum observed tensile force was 174.5 kN or 82.7% of the MBS, respectively, which led to a failure of the steel cable. For the machine tilt, a maximum of 80% was measured during loading and driving during loading. John Deere 1210E was operated 31% of the productive work time above the manufacturers tilt limit. For Komatsu 840TX, the manufacturers’ maximum tilt limit was exceeded only twice. The study also showed that peaks with an amplitude of up to 50 kN can occur within a few centiseconds, which highlights the need of high measurement rates, when measuring cable tensile force of winch-assisted machinery. The detailed analysis of the peaks showed that 90% of the pit-to-peak amplitudes ≥20 kN occurred during driving activities. Only 10% of pit-to-peak amplitudes ≥20 kN were measured during loading activities, although loading took about 43.5% of the productive work time. As such, the study results confirm that amplitudes of peaks in tensile force, and hence safety risks, are significantly higher during driving than during loading.

Productivity of a Portable Winch System Used in Salvage Logging of Storm-Damaged Timber

volume: 40, issue:

Storm damages result in serious losses in many regions, primarily by stem breakage or blowdown. Extraction of storm-damaged trees often requires more difficult than normal skidding activities due to obstacles created during the storm. In this study, the productivity of a portable winch was evaluated as a possible alternative to recover storm-damaged timber. Field measurements were conducted in the Alabarda Forest Enterprise Chief located near the city of Kütahya in western Turkey, where storm damage often occurs during the winter season. The time study was implemented in two slope classes (35% and 55%) and two skidding distances (40 m and 60 m). All timber was skidded uphill. A regression mode was developed that related productivity to log volume, ground slope and skidding distance. The highest percentage of total cycle time was observed for skidding logs to the landing. The highest productivity (3.96 m3/hour) was found at the shorter skidding distance (40 m) and the lower ground slope (35%). Statistical analyses indicated that productivity was most highly affected by log volume, followed by skidding distance and ground slope. Larger log loads increased productivity, while both longer skidding distances and steeper slopes reduced productivity.

Evaluation of Different Best Management Practices for Erosion Control on Machine Operating Trails

volume: 40, issue:

Ground-based mechanized forest operations often lead to increased runoff and soil loss on unbound forest roads and machine operating trails, which in turn can impede the technical trafficability of machines and cause negative impacts on the environment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of three Best Management Practice (BMP) treatments used to control erosion occurring on machine operating trails. The treatments included water bar, water bar and hardwood brush (H-brush), and water bar and softwood brush (S-brush). For a more comprehensive assessment of both brush treatments, two levels of brush thickness were tested; 0.5 m and 1.0 m. Results indicate that the most effective BMP treatments were the water bar and softwood brush followed by the water bar and hardwood brush and finally the least effective was the water bar. The average runoff rates and soil loss from the machine operating trails with the water bar treatment (52.64 l per plot, 8.49 g m-2) were higher than runoff and soil loss at the trails protected with hardwood brush (23.75 l per plot, 4.5 g m-2), and the trails protected by the hardwood brush had higher runoff and soil loss compared to trails covered by softwood brush (15.83 l per plot, 2.98 g m-2). Furthermore, results of this study showed that regardless of the treatment, the amount of runoff and soil loss decreased consistently as the thickness of the brush mat increased. Overall, erosion control techniques similar to either H-brush or S-brush that provide direct soil coverage should be used for erosion control, and final selection should be based on costs, availability of material, or landowner objectives.

Effects of Ground-Based Skidding on Soil Physical Properties in Skid Trail Switchbacks

volume: 40, issue:

Effective skid-trail design requires a solid understanding of vehicle-soil interactions, yet virtually no data exist on the effects of harvest traffic on soils in the switchback curves common in mountainous terrain. We contrast for the first time the effect of skidding on dry bulk density, total porosity, macroporosity, and microporosity in the straight segments of the skid trail and in various positions within switchbacks of differing trail curvature (deflection angle) on different slope gradients. Treatment plots with three replications included combinations of two classes of curvature (narrow = high deflection angle, 60–70°; wide = low deflection angle, 110–130°) and two categories of slope gradient (gentle = ≤20%; steep = >20%). The Cambisol soil was sampled in control and trafficked areas both before and after three passes with a rubber-tired skidder. After only three passes, significant effects were seen for dry soil bulk density (+), total porosity (–), macroporosity (–), and microporosity (+), with steady trends from undisturbed controls to straight segments to wide curves to narrow curves. Soil damage increased gradually and consistently toward the apex of the curve, particularly in narrow curves on gentle slopes. Our results establish that curvature and switchback position are important factors affecting soil compaction in ground skidding. The strong observed effects of even low harvest traffic volume on soil physical properties in curves indicate that the degree of soil compaction in skid trails may be underestimated in areas with numerous switchbacks, the placement of which within a skid trail system may require careful consideration on mountainous terrain.

Applying Theory of Constraints to Timber Harvesting: A Case Study from the Northeast USA

volume: 41, issue: 1

Logging firms are a critical link in wood supply chains, connecting forest landowners with markets for wood products. Improving operational planning can benefit individual logging firms as well as the larger wood supply chain in which they operate. Applying concepts from Theory of Constraints (TOC) to timber harvesting may help achieve greater predictability and efficiency when planning harvest operations. However, examples that demonstrate how TOC can improve logging operations are lacking. This study focuses on the analysis of production and activity data collected during the harvest of a temperate mixed hardwood forest in the Northeast United States using a chainsaw-forwarder system through a TOC lens. Specifically, the drum-buffer-rope (DBR) method was used to reschedule operator and machine activities such that a consistent flow of wood from stump to landing was maintained despite anticipated production setbacks. The results of this case study provide insights into the usefulness of applying TOC to logging operations. In particular, logging businesses must be able to estimate machine and operator productivity within a given harvest context to identify and exploit system constraints, while taking full advantage of unused capacity of any non-constraint functions

Productivity in Mechanizing Early Tending in Spruce Seedling Stands

volume: 41, issue: 1

According to National Forest Inventory data, there is an urgent need for tending seedling stands of at least 700,000 ha and a need for 1 million ha in the next few years in Finland. The motivation for forest owners to conduct pre-commercial silvicultural operations is low due to the associated high costs. Especially the costs of tending and clearing operations after the regeneration of the stand have been increasing. In addition, the availability of labor is a restricting factor due to the high seasonality of silvicultural works.

In the 2000s, several solutions for the mechanization of tending have been proposed. These are based on the use of harvester or a forwarder as a base machine. Typically, light weight base machines are favored to reduce the hourly cost of operations and the impacts on the remaining seedlings. There have been challenges with the high speed of the cutting device, which increases the risk of damages to the head and the ignition of forest fires when the circular saw or chain hits stones, for example. In addition, the chain can become dislocated due to bending forces caused by stumps.

Cutlink has presented a low RPM solution based on rotating cone-shaped shears that cut 50–100 cm wide corridors between and around seedlings. In this study, the productivity of mechanized tending with Cutlink´s device compared to manual tending was evaluated in spruce seedling stands in central Finland. The productivity, fuel consumption and quality of the seedling stand after the operation were measured. In early tending, the productivity of motor manual tending was notably better than when using the Cutlink device. Crucial factors for the competitiveness of a mechanized alternative include the annual working hours and finding suitable working areas for the machine. Additional work for the device and base machine can also be found in the clearing of forest road sides

Monitoring the Quality and Quantity of Beechwood from Tree to Sawmill Product

volume: 41, issue: 1

The analysis evaluates the potential and methods of the respective assessment of beech trees, beech logs and sawn timber. The objective of the study was to assess the impact of the quality of the incoming raw material (tree) on the quality and quantity of products – obtained at the sawmill. The study presents a model that indicates the relations between the assessment of the quality of a standing beech tree and the quality of the sawmill products obtained from its wood. In addition, relations between individual quality classes of sawlogs, pulpwood, energy wood and sawn timber are shown. Standing trees were assessed in three sites according to the national 5-grade quality scale, assortments produced from selected trees pursuant to the EN 1316-1 standard, and sawn timber produced from assortments according to the rules of the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS). In total, 87.04 m3 of timber was harvested. In higher quality trees (quality 1 and 2), the shares of sawlogs were between 53% and 72% of gross tree volume, but in the poorest quality trees, the shares were only between 23% and 36%. What remained was pulp and energy wood. In trees of excellent quality (quality 1), sawlogs of the highest quality prevailed (A and B quality grade), while sawlogs of C and B quality prevailed in trees of lower quality. Covered knots and heart defects were typically the decisive criteria for classifying sawlogs quality in all three sites. A total of 30,786 m3 of unedged timber was sawn from the sawlogs, which comprised 35% of the total gross quantity of trees on average. Nine percent of the sawn timber was classified into the A–EOS class (top quality), 27% into the B–EOS class and 47% into the C–EOS class. Seventeen percent of the timber was only suitable for post-processing. The crucial criteria for classifying sawn timber were as follows: dead and rotten knots, heart, curvature and cracks. Above-average sawlogs (A and B quality grade) was mainly obtained from trees of better quality. Relations between the quality of trees, sawlogs and sawn timber indicated the suitability of classifying standing trees and sawlogs, since it was possible to produce sawn timber of higher quality from quality trees or logs. The model presents a rare attempt to establish and monitor quality and quantity from standing tree to end product.

Modelling of Work Efficiency in Cable Traction with Tractor Implementing the Least-Squares Methods and Robust Regression

volume: 41, issue: 1

Wood-harvesting activities are conducted by contractors through tendering based on prices determined by the amount of transported wood, land conditions and transport method parameters. Managers should determine the average completion time of the work and the base price accurately to prevent both work and contractor losses prior to the tender and note the same in the tender contract. Thus, prediction of productivity in wood production is of great importance in the determination of the work duration and cost. In this context, the aim of the present study was to determine the most accurate estimation model that would predict productivity (Pe) based on log volume (Vt), route slope (P) and winching distance (D) in uphill cable skidding activities with a drum tractor. In the current study, estimation models were developed that use both linear regression through SPSS employing all data and the robust regression method that minimizes the effect of outliers. Harvesting units were selected among pure spruce (Picea orientalis (L.) Link) stands via the uphill cable-skidding method with a tractor in the North-East of Turkey. Route slope, winching distance, log volume and time-consumption data were collected in the chosen harvesting units and productivity prediction models were developed with these data. In this study, the productivity estimation was performed using linear regression in SPSS and robust regression methods prepared in MATLAB environment. The coefficients calculated by these methods were statistically tested, and it was determined that the winching distance coefficient was insignificant with both methods. Thus, the productivity estimation model was re-determined with both methods based on the slope and log volume parameters, and the findings were compared. Additionally, the standard errors of the coefficients of both models were compared and it was concluded that the robust method was more sensitive than the SPSS regression method.

Effectiveness of Three Post-Harvest Rehabilitation Treatments for Runoff and Sediment Reduction on Skid Trails in the Hyrcanian Forests

volume: 41, issue:

Ground-based skidding operations can lead to soil compaction and displacement, which could cause negative effects on forest soil. Hence, some efforts such as forestry best management practices (BMPs) must be implemented in the prone area to mitigate these possible impacts. Several materials and treatments have been adopted to suppress these adverse effects by increasing the ground cover. However, the effects of mulch treatments on runoff and sediment yield are inconclusive with a diverse range of effectiveness. For these reasons, in this research mulch treatments were tested as to determine how the application of organic mulch amendments such as straw and leaf litter and contour-felled logs would alleviate the runoff and sediment yield on machine operating trails and ensure successful hillslope stabilization. The aims of the study were to analyse and compare the effectiveness of leaf litter (LM) and straw mulch (SM) rate and different distances of contour-felled logs (CFL) to mitigate the runoff and sediment yield, and examine the impact of rainfall intensity on effectiveness of litter mulch, straw mulch, and contour-felled logs. Totally, 30 bounded runoff plots in the machine operating trails and four treatments including litter mulch (LMR1: 0.62, LMR2: 1.24, and LMR3: 1.86 kg m-2), straw mulch (SMR1: 0.45, SMR2: 0.92, and SMR3: 1.34 kg m-2), contour-felled logs (CFL10: 10, CFL20: 20, and CFL30: 30 m), and untreated area were established in triplicate with 4 m width and 100 m length. During the study period, the runoff and sediment yield in the untreated trails (U) were 2.36 mm and 11.84 g m-2. Straw (from 41.5 to 60.6%) and litter mulch (from 38.1 to 55.1%), and contour-felled logs treatments (from 70.8 to 88.1%) significantly decreased the runoff, compared to U treatment. Results show that mulch treatments with three different levels of Litter Mulch Rate, LMR1, LMR2, and LMR3 decreased mean sediment by 46.6, 64.0 and 71.8%, in the treatments with three different levels of Straw Mulch Rate, SMR1, SMR2, and SMR3 decreased mean sediment by 42.9, 62.1, and 69.9%, and in the treatments with three different distances of Contour-Felled Logs, CFL10, CFL20, and CFL30 decreased mean sediment by 90.6, 94.7 and 88.3% comparing to U, respectively. The relationships of the runoff and sediment responses to increasing mulching rate of litter and straw followed as negative logarithmic curves, but the decreasing-increasing trends were observed in runoff and sediment yield as the distance between contour-felled logs increased from 10 to 30 m. Polynomial regression equations were developed for predicting the runoff and sediment yield as a function of the application rate of litter and straw mulch and the distance between contour-felled logs, and rainfall intensity. We concluded that contour-felled logs treatment was more effective than both litter and straw mulch to mitigate the runoff, runoff coefficient, and sediment yield on machine operating trails. As a management measure, it could be possible to propose that the contour-felled logs with a distance of 20 m be prescribed to protect the machine operating trails from the negative effects of surface waterflow.

Technical-Economic Analysis of Grapple Saw: A Stochastic Approach

volume: 41, issue:

The processing of Eucalyptus logs is a stage that follows the full tree system in mechanized forest harvesting, commonly performed by grapple saw. Therefore, this activity presents some associated uncertainties, especially regarding technical and silvicultural factors that can affect productivity and production costs. To get around this problem, Monte Carlo simulation can be applied, or rather a technique that allows to measure the probabilities of values from factors that are under conditions of uncertainties, to which probability distributions are attributed. The objective of this study was to apply the Monte Carlo method for determining the probabilistic technical-economical coefficients of log processing using two different grapple saw models. Field data were obtained from an area of forest planted with Eucalyptus, located in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. For the technical analysis, the time study protocol was applied by the method of continuous reading of the operational cycle elements, which resulted in production. As for the estimated cost of programmed hour, the applied methods were recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The incorporation of the uncertainties was carried out by applying the Monte Carlo simulation method, by which 100,000 random values were generated. The results showed that the crane empty movement is the operational element that most impacts the total time for processing the logs; the variables that most influence the productivity are specific to each grapple saw model; the difference of USD 0.04 m3 in production costs was observed between processors with gripping area of 0.58 m2 and 0.85 m2. The Monte Carlo method proved to be an applicable tool for mechanized wood harvesting for presenting a range of probability of occurrences for the operational elements and for the production cost.

Multi-Product Forwarder-Based Timber Extraction: Time Consumption and Productivity Analysis of Two Forwarder Models Over Multiple Products and Extraction Distances

volume: 41, issue:

Accurate predictions in forest operations can be used towards effective planning, costing, and maximizing the productivity of machines in mechanised cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting. There is a general and substantial gap in forwarder productivity data available for pine sawtimber in South Africa at present, and as the number of product assortments being harvested increase there is a need for more work to quantify the effects of extracting products of different dimensions. The aim of this study was to calculate the time consumption and productivity of two models of Ponsse forwarders (15 t and 20 t capacity) to consider and compare the effects of multiple variables including machine capabilities, product assortment, load size, extraction distance and fuel consumption. Productivity averaged at 34.08 m3 per productive machine hour excluding delays longer than one minute (PMH1) for the smaller machine, and 55.94 m3/PMH1 for the larger machine. Productivity and average log volume were strongly positively correlated. Regression models were created for each machine where load volume and extraction distance were both significant factors for predicting productivity. Average fuel consumption of the smaller machine was 15.55 l/PMH1 and 0.47 l/m3, and 20.57 l/PMH1 and 0.43 l/m3 for the larger machine. The product with the largest volume was found to require the least fuel per m3. The models developed could aid in predicting system productivity and potentially carbon emissions under similar conditions in a South African context of industrial plantation forestry.

Impact of Distance between Strip Roads on Productivity and Costs of a Forwarder in Commercial Thinning of Pinus Taeda Stands

volume: 41, issue:

Demand for higher value-added wood products stimulates research for new, mainly mechanized, thinning operations in order to increase productivity and reduce production costs. In this context, the aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of distance between strip roads on forwarder productivity and costs of thinning operations in Pinus taeda stands. The study was carried out in 10-year-old Pinus taeda stands located in Parana State, Brazil. Two thinning methods were evaluated: (1) TH5: systematic harvest in every fifth tree row and selective harvest in adjacent rows; and (2) TH7: systematic harvest in every seventh tree row and selective harvest in adjacent rows. Working cycle times, productivity and costs were determined through a time-motion study of the forwarder. The additional variables evaluated were wood assortments (industrial wood and energy wood) and extraction distances (50, 100, 150 and 200 m), and mean values were compared between thinning methods using t tests for independent samples (α=0.05). Loading and unloading elements consumed the most time in the working cycle, with lower participation time in TH7 due to greater availability of logs along the strip roads (higher pile volumes), influencing total cycle time up to the mean distance of 150 m for both assortments. TH7 consequently showed 6% higher productivity, its energy yield was 5.3% lower and its production cost was 3.0% lower.

Harvesting System Suitability as Decision Support in Selection Cutting Forest Management in Northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina

volume: 41, issue:

Planning of forest harvesting operations is one of the key elements of successful forest management. The integration of modern tools and traditional forestry procedures is something that must be done in contemporary forestry. This research investigated the use of multicriteria decision support (AHP) and GIS in choosing the optimal harvesting system for predominantly selection cutting forest management on the example of two Forest Management Units (FMU). Results showed that AHP could be easily integrated into GIS using the extAHP tool and its results could be of help, along with other input data, in choosing the optimal harvesting system. Spatial analysis of raster data in GIS gives a comprehensive insight into the stand and terrain characteristics and shows the relative share of the area proposed for each system. In FMU »Kozara–Mlječanica«, the harvesting system chainsaw-skidder had the highest relative share with 44% of the area, meaning that it is almost the only harvesting system in current use, followed by chainsaw-forwarder (36%), chainsaw-cable yarder (19%), and chainsaw-adapted agriculture tractor (AAT) (1%). The system harvester-forwarder was not used at all, which is understandable considering that FMU »Kozara–Mlječanica« has a higher average slope and higher diameter of trees to be cut than FMU »Prosara«, where harvester-forwarder system accounts for a significant 36% of the area. The dominant system in FMU »Prosara« was chainsaw-forwarder (42%), followed by chainsaw-cable yarder (17%), chainsaw-skidder (4%) and chainsaw-AAT (1%). It should be noted that the presence of chainsaw-skidder system is insignificant. It is replaced by the system chainsaw-forwarder. Traditional harvesting system chainsaw-skidder, which prevails in Bosnia and Herzegovina, should be upgraded with the new technologies and methods. Using tools like multicriteria decision support and GIS could be of great help in that process.

Technical, Economic, and Environmental Parameters of Excavator-Based Harvester in Function of Engine Speed and Hydraulic Pump Flow

volume: 41, issue:

Excavators-based harvesters are self-propelled forestry tractors that normally operate at maximum engine speed. This results in maximum hydraulic pump flow regardless of operating conditions. The objective of this work was to quantitatively investigate the technical performance, as well was the economic and environmental outcomes, of excavators-based harvester as a function of engine speed and hydraulic pump flow. Machine operations were analyzed in forest stands with an individual average volume of 0.08 or 0.16 m3 tree–1. The machine was operated with engine speeds of 2060, 2000, 1950, or 1900 rpm and hydraulic pump flow rates of 300, 295, or 290 L min–1. This resulted in 12 different excavator-based harvester configurations. With regards to the technical performance of the machine, a study of times and movements, productivity, hourly fuel consumption, and fuel consumption was performed. Economic outcomes were considered in terms of the operational costs, while environmental impact was determined by carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Optimal excavator-based harvester operating conditions with an average volume of 0.08 m3 tree–1 were determined to be with an engine speed of 2000 rpm and a hydraulic pump flow rate of 295 L min–1. With the 0.16 m3 tree–1 volume, the best results were obtained with an engine speed of 2000 rpm and a hydraulic pump flow of 300 L min–1.

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.

Skyline Tensile Forces in Cable Logging: Field Observations vs. Software Calculations

volume: 42, issue:

Skyline tensile forces have been shown to frequently exceed the recommended safety limits during ordinary cable logging operations. Several models for skyline engineering analyses have been proposed. Although skyline tensile forces assume a dynamic behaviour, practical solutions are based on a static approach without consideration of the dynamic nature of the cable systems.

The aim of this study was to compare field data of skyline tensile forces with the static calculations derived by dedicated available software such as SkylineXL. To overcome the limitation of static calculation, this work also aimed to simulate the actual response of the tensile fluctuations measured in the real environment by mean of a finite element model (FEM).

Field observations of skyline tensile forces included 103 work cycles, recorded over four different cable lines in standing skyline configuration. Payload estimations, carriages positions, and time study of the logging operations were also collected in the field. The ground profiles and the cable line geometries were analysed using digital elevation models. The field data were then used to simulate the work cycles in SkylineXL. The dynamic response of six fully-suspended loads in a single-span cable line was also simulated by a dedicated FEM built through ANSYS®. The observed data and the software calculations were then compared.

SkylineXL resulted particularly reliable in the prediction of the actual tensile forces, with RMSE ranging between 7.5 and 13.5 KN, linked to an average CV(RMSE) of 7.24%. The reliability in predicting the peak tensile forces was lower, reporting CV(RMSE) of 10.12%, but still not likely resulting in a safety or performance problem. If properly set-up and used, thus, SkylineXL could be considered appropriate for operational and practical purposes. This work, however, showed that finite element models could be successfully used for detailed analysis and simulation of the skyline tensile forces, including the dynamic oscillations due to the motion of the carriage and payload along the cable line. Further developments of this technique could also lead to the physical simulation and analysis of the log-to-ground interaction and the investigation of the breakout force during lateral skidding.

Forest Machinery Fires: Trends in New Zealand Forest Harvesting Sector

volume: 42, issue:

Fires in forest machines are typically catastrophic in terms of machine destruction and can develop rapidly to be a risk to the machine operator. They are an issue worldwide and there can be larger consequences such as starting a major forest fire. This paper describes trends in machine fire occurrences in the New Zealand forest harvesting sector. A total of 224 machinery fire incidents were recorded over an 8 year period from 2007 to 2014. Trends in forest machinery fires in the sector were identified and summarized. Late morning (10 am-noon) and mid-afternoon (2–4 pm) showed the highest incidence of machine fire, corresponding to periods with the highest level of work. Excluding the main holiday months, there was a correlation of machine fires to average monthly temperature. Summary statistics on causes of fire ignition showed that 40% were attributed to electrical and hydraulic faults; however, some remain unidentified as the fires commenced after work was completed. A short survey of industry managers was carried out to ascertain machine fire perceptions. 67% agreed that machine fire was an issue, and only 33% thought the current industry procedures were sufficient to mitigate them. The report concludes with proactive measures to reduce the incidence of forest machine fire risk.

The Effect of Yarding Technique on Yarding Productivity and Cost: Conventional Single-Hitch Suspension vs. Horizontal Double-Hitch Suspension

volume: 42, issue:

Cable yarding is a well establish technology for the extraction of timber in steep terrain. However, it is encumbered with relatively low productivity and high costs, and as such this technology needs to adapt and progress to remain viable. The development of biomass as a valuable byproduct, and the availability of processors to support yarder operations, lend themselves to increasing the level of whole-tree extraction. Double-hitch carriages have been developed to allow for full suspension of whole-tree and tree-length material. This study compared a standard single-hitch to a double-hitch carriage under controlled conditions, namely in the same location using the same yarder with downhill extraction. As expected, the double-hitch carriage took longer to load up (+14%), but was able to achieve similar productivity (10–11 m3 per productive machine hour) through increased inhaul speed (+15%). The importance of this study is that it demonstrates both the physical and economic feasibility of moving to whole-tree extraction using the double-hitch type carriage for longer corridors, for settings with limited deflection, or areas with lower tolerance for soil disturbance.

The Impact of Felling Method, Bunch Size, Slope Degree and Skidding Area on Productivity and Costs of Skidding in a Eucalyptus Plantation

volume: 42, issue:

Grapple skidder is a machine designed for the extraction of tree bunches after felling. Several factors influence its technical performance and costs such as terrain slope, operator experience time, machine type, and the size of tree bunches for each operating cycle, among others. Thus, it becomes necessary to weigh the variables that most influence the productivity and costs of the grapple skidder. So, the main objective was evaluated according to the influence of bunch size using two feller bunchers with distinct technical characteristics, two slope classes and two skidding areas on the productivity and machine production cost in a Eucalyptus plantation. For the analysis of the productivity, the study of time and method was applied and the scheduled machine cost per hour was based on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations methods. When analyzing the results, it was found that the operational elements moving without load (MWoL) and moving with load (MWL) were the ones that spend the most time in the operational cycle of the grapple skidder. Among the cost components, monetary expenditure on fuel and operator labor were the most influential in the scheduled machine cost per hour. In conclusion, the tree bunches and slope class influenced the productivity and, consequently, the cost of the skidding operation.

Environmental Thermal Conditions Related to Performance, Dynamics and Safety of Logging in the Brazilian Amazon

volume: 42, issue:

The Amazon rainforest covers an area of about 50% of the Brazilian national territory, which consists mainly of upland rainforests that are generally poorly managed, because of low investment in technology, planning, operations and manufacturing. Logging activities require a large contingent of heavy machinery and an intense physical workload from the operators and crews. The thermal comfort at work in tropical regions is between 20 and 24°C; however, in the Central Amazon the daily average temperature exceeds 28°C. The sum of these adverse factors leads to a common denominator: low quality logging operations that lead to unsustainable forest management. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of environmental thermal conditions on performance, rest breaks, work dynamics and safety of workers involved in the logging operations, as well as to understand better their interactions. The data was collected from the following logging activities: felling, pre-skidding, skidding and landing operations. These variables were analyzed using PCA analysis, MANOVA and multiple linear regression. The variables of productivity and rest breaks were strongly influenced by mechanical interruption and time of the workday. We concluded that mechanical availability was the most influential factor in the performance of logging operations. In addition, environmental thermal conditions, bonus payments and work dynamics showed an influence. To a less extent, there was an influence of safety and physical comfort of workers, which resulted in higher rest breaks, depending on the operation involved. This influence was observed in operations with a higher physical workload (felling and pre-skidding). Moreover, the tree volume had a significant impact on the productivity of the chainsaw operator, which was also influenced by the species factor, as in the species Hymenolobium modestum. Lastly, improvements in working conditions such as appropriate clothing, job rotation and scheduled breaks would lead to a greater worker well-being with increased labor productivity and safety. In turn, this would greatly contribute to the quality and performance of overall forest management and sustainability in the economic development of the Amazon region.

Short Term Impacts of Harvesting 0perations on Soil Chemical Properties in a Mediterranean Oak Ecosystem

volume: 42, issue:

Soil physical and chemical properties can be seriously affected by forest operations. There is a knowledge gap on this topic for oak ecosystems, which can play a significant role in the context of multiple-use forestry.

The main objective of this study was to analyse forest floor and topsoil changes (0–10 cm) two years after the application of small-scale thinning (50% reduction of basal area) and clear-cut operations using mules to carry harvested material in a Northern Greece oak (Quercus frainetto Ten)ecosystem. The total amount of forest floor (O1+O2 horizons) was reduced by 37.8% in the thinned and 30.8% in the clear-cut plots compared to control plots. These large reductions are mainly due to reduction in the O2 horizon in the treated plots. Decomposition was reduced in the treated plots, possibly due to the new drier conditions. Treatments increased the soil pH but not to a significant extent. No evidence of erosion was found in the experimental plots due to the protective function of the forest floor and the use of designated mule trails. The areal extent of soil compaction was limited to only 3% of the total area mainly due to the careful planning and implementation of animal skidding. Small differences in C (%) and Ν (%) were found among control, thinned and clear-cut plots.

The limiting growth factors in Mediterranean oak ecosystems are soil depth and the seasonal change of soil moisture, especially during the summer dry period. More research on the definition of the optimum thinning degree and extraction systems in similar ecosystems will be important to satisfy the need to improve soil characteristics.

Determining Harvester Productivity Curves of Thinning Operations in Birch Stands of Central Europe

volume: 43, issue:

Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is a popular tree species forming stands in nearly the whole of Europe. In Poland, birch is one of the most representative broadleaved species growing on rather poor soils, very often as a mix species with Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). In Central Europe, birch forms trunk often with sweeps, and at the older age with thick branches. Due to that, a harvester thinning operation in birch stands can be challengeable when trying to process logs from the top part of trees, which can finally impact on productivity. The objective of this research was to determine harvester productivity for birch with particular attention to production of logs from the top part of a tree. The research was carried out in stands of North and North-West Poland. All together 21 tests were completed in 16 stands, in which 9 harvesters were used (8 different models). The mean diameter of harvested trees was 23.7 cm with the mean height of 21.7 m. Obtained productivity without delays was on average 21.98 m3 h-1 and varied from as low as 5.14 to maximum 44.66 m3 h-1, and depended mainly on harvested tree size. It was also confirmed that top diameter of the last log depended on diameter at breast height (DBH). The model developed based on that relationship can be used for prediction of biomass volume from birch stands when harvesters are used for thinning.

Cutlink Cleaning Head with a Spreading Feature for Biological Sprout Control

volume: 43, issue:

The ability of deciduous trees to sprout efficiently after cutting is problematic in young forests where the target is to cultivate coniferous trees for industry. Since the use of chemicals has been restricted, new alternatives are needed. One potential and environmentally friendly option is biological sprout control that is based on the use of a white-rot fungus, Chondrostereum purpureum (Pers. Ex Fr.) Pouzar. This method has been efficient in earlier investigations when performed manually, but efficient, fully mechanized devices which are able to cut and treat stumps with a fungus are still unavailable. Therefore, the efficacy of biological sprout control conducted with a Cutlink cleaning head equipped with a spreading feature was studied in two young Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.) forests in central Finland.

Sample plots for the control (cutting deciduous saplings only) and fungal treatment (cutting and spreading fungal inoculum on fresh stump surfaces) were established, and the ability of the Cutlink cleaning head in preventing sprouting of silver and downy birch (Betula pendula Roth and B. pubescens Ehrh., respectively) in the sample plots was investigated for two years.

In the near vicinity of cultivated Norway spruce, the proportion of cut deciduous saplings varied from 50–60% after the Cutlink operation. The average mortality of silver and downy birch stumps in the fungal treatment plots was ca. 40%, while stump mortality in the control, i.e., cutting only, was only ca. 13%, after two years. Stump mortality increased up to 73% if the stumps did not include old branches, i.e., the stump was cut to a low enough height.

These results confirmed that the Cutlink cleaning head is a potential tool in young stand management operation but further development will be needed in working methods in order to achieve lower stump heights (no branches on the stump) and also to increase the proportion of cut saplings.

Comparison of Forwarder Productivity and Optimal Road Density in Thinning and Clearcutting of Pine Plantation in Southern Brazil

volume: 43, issue:

The prescription of forest management determines the number of trees to be cut and, consequently, the harvested wood volume, which directly influences the forest operations dynamic. The objectives of this paper were (i) to analyze the effect of process factors on wood extraction performance with forwarder in first thinning and clearcutting of Pinus taeda L. plantations; and (ii) to economically determine the optimal road density to manage these plantations. Time and motion studies at the cycle element level were conducted to quantify and model the time consumption, productivity, and operational costs of the extraction. The optimal road density (ORD) for both operation types (OT) was determined based on the transport geometry model, considering the minimization of the sum of unitary costs with construction and maintenance of roads, loss of productive area, and wood extraction. The extraction distance (ED), slope (SL), average log volume (LV), and OT had a significant effect on the time consumed in travels, and therefore, on productivity (PPMH). In clearcutting, the average PPMH was 12.17 m3ob PMH0-1, while, in thinning, it was 10.94 m3ob PMH0-1; however, as the ED increased, the difference of PPMH and the cost of extraction between the operations decreased, which highlighted a greater effect of this factor on forwarder’s work in clearcutting. For this reason, the ORD for clearcutting (37.76 m ha-1) was higher than for thinning (27.84 m ha-1). Therefore, we demonstrated in this study that the type of operation and forest management regime, as well as their interaction with process factors, affect the sizing of the number of roads per unit area, and also the costs of the forest activity.

Use of Impact Penetrometer to Determine Changes in Soil Compactness After Entracon Sioux EH30 Timber Harvesting

volume: 43, issue:

Wood harvesting with the use of wheeled harvesters is now common in Polish and Czech forests. While moving in the forest, the wheels of these machines affect the forest soil and the extent of this impact is interesting. The paper presents the results of measurements of the changes that occur in the soil on the operational trails after the timber harvesting using the Entracon Sioux EH30 thinning harvester. The measurements were taken on fragments of three operational trails, in and between the ruts and at a distance of 1.0 m off the trail. An impact penetrometer was used to measure the penetration resistance, soil samples were collected to determine the bulk density and moisture content, and soil deformations on the trail were measured with a profile meter. Unit pressures exerted by harvester wheels on the ground were determined. It was shown that in the places where the harvester wheels pass, even of a small weight (5.73 tons, 8 wheels) and with unit pressures of the wheels on the ground <50 kPa, changes in soil parameters occurred. A statistically significant increase in penetration resistance in relation to the control occurred at a depth of up to 35 cm, while at a depth of up to 5 cm the increase was more than 2-fold. There was also a slight decrease in soil moisture content (up to 7.9%) and an increase (up to 8.4%) in bulk density in the ruts, while rut depths were small and reached 4 cm. As it was shown, the impact penetrometer, simple in design, which was assumed to be used for measurements, and which is not used in this type of research in forestry, despite its limitations, can be used to determine the compactness of the soil and its changes resulting from machine work.

Stem-Level Bucking Pattern Optimization in Chainsaw Bucking Based on Terrestrial Laser Scanning Data

volume: 43, issue:

Cross-cutting of a tree into a set of assortments (»bucking pattern«) presents a large potential for optimizing the volume and value recovery; therefore, bucking pattern optimization has been studied extensively in the past. However, it has not seen widespread adoption in chainsaw bucking, where time consuming and costly manual measurement of input parameters is required for taper curve estimation. The present study investigated an alternative approach, where taper curves are fit based on terrestrial laser scanning data (TLS), and how deviations from observed taper curves (REF) affect the result of bucking pattern optimization. In addition, performance of TLS was compared to a traditional, segmental taper curve estimation approach (APP) and an experienced chainsaw operator’s solution (CHA).

A mature Norway Spruce stand was surveyed by stationary terrestrial laser scanning. In TLS, taper curves were fit by a mixed-effects B-spline regression approach to stem diameters extracted from 3D point cloud data. A network analysis technique algorithm was used for bucking pattern optimization during harvesting. Stem diameter profiles and the chainsaw operator’s bucking pattern were obtained by manual measurement. The former was used for post-operation fit of REF taper curves by the same approach as in TLS. APP taper curves were fit based on part of the data. For 35 trees, TLS and APP taper curves were compared to REF on  tree, trunk and crown section level. REF and APP bucking patterns were optimized with the same algorithm as in TLS. For 30 trees, TLS, APP and CHA bucking patterns were compared to REF on operation and tree level.

Taper curves were estimated with high accuracy and precision (underestimated by 0.2 cm on average (SD=1.5 cm); RMSE=1.5 cm) in TLS and the fit outperformed APP. Volume and value recovery were marginally higher in TLS (0.6%; 0.9%) than in REF on operation level, while substantial differences were observed for APP (–6.1%; –4.1%). Except for cumulated nominal length, no significant differences were observed between TLS and REF on tree level, while APP result was inferior throughout. Volume and value recovery in CHA was significantly higher (2.1%; 2.4%), but mainly due to a small disadvantage of the optimization algorithm.

The investigated approach based on terrestrial laser scanning data proved to provide highly accurate and precise estimations of the taper curves. Therefore, it can be considered a further step towards increased accuracy, precision and efficiency of bucking pattern optimization in chainsaw bucking.

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

volume: 44, issue:

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

volume: 44, issue:

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.

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

volume: 44, issue:

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.

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

volume: 44, issue:

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.

Tree Felling with a Drill Cone

volume: 44, issue:

Motor-manual timber felling is one of the most dangerous operations in the forest and cannot be completely replaced by fully mechanized timber harvesting by a harvester when dealing with large and deciduous trees. Shifting the center of gravity of tree ready to be felled beyond its tipping line using conventional felling wedges is dangerous because the forest worker is directly behind the stem and under the tree crown until just before the tree falls. The worker can be hit by the trunk itself, but also by falling parts of the crown. In a preliminary study for the development of a new type of felling head, felling with a drill cone that can open the felling cut with the help of an applied torque was investigated. A drill cone does not require any special cutting technique, no counter forces to the tree, works without impulses, it is self-retaining and can be unscrewed again.

In order to determine the torque required for felling the tree as a function of the tree parameters, the mathematical equation framework was established and practical experiments were used to determine the friction parameters and verify the calculations. The torque of the drill cone is used to bend the intact fibers of the hinge, shift the center of gravity of the tree in the direction of fall, and to overcome the friction of the drill cone on the felling cut. The effects of forward or backward leaning trees on the required torque can also be quantified. It has been shown that the efficiency of a drill cone is low, but this is compensated for by the high internal torque to lift ratio. The maximum measured input torque for felling trees with a felling diameter up to 55 centimeter was 100 Nm.

Influence of Stump-Root System of Trees on Rut Formation During Forwarder Operation on Peat Soils

volume: 44, issue:

To explain the soil deformation processes under the influence of logging machines, average values of various indicators are often used. One of these indicators is the rut depth formed during tractor passages. The average values do not fully describe the consequences of passages on the skidding trails, for example, the rut depth varies along the track. This variability includes both random and regular components. The stump-root systems of trees located on the skidding trail and along its border act as a factor that introduces a pattern. To determine the degree of influence of stumps on 8 sections of skidding trails with the length of 25 and 50 m, located on peat soils (the average mass fraction of water is 82.3%), the rut depth was measured at intervals of 0.5 m and the locations of stumps were noted. The resulting arrays of vertical marks represent the microprofiles of the experimental sections. Measurements were taken after 2 harvester passages and 2 forwarder passages. The stumps were divided into two groups: located inside the tractor track and outside it. Statistical processing of the data showed a wide spread of the rut dimensions in each array. Average values at the sections (standard deviations) in cm were: 21.6(17.7); 30.6(21.6); 37.7(22.7); 46(20.3); 36.4(15.0); 36(15.4); 30.6(21.0); 34(21.0). The autocorrelation functions, constructed for the series of values, showed surges with moderate correlation coefficients on the lags where stumps were noted. An increase in stumps per a length unit of the skidding trail shows an increase in the number of such surges. A decrease in the rut dimensions, in relation to the places where the influence of the roots was absent, averaged: in points 0.5 m away from the stump – 44% (22.6); 1 m away – 32% (20.4); 1.5 m away – 22% (14.2). The spatial influence factor of the roots explains 21% of the variability of the rut dimensions along the skidding trail. The factor of the stump location relative to the track is 19%. The combined influence of these factors is 25%. Further identification of regularities in the rut formation processes is associated both with the continuation of studies of the root system influence, but with the inclusion of factors of the stump size and variety, and with the study of the variability of the soil physical properties along the skidding trails, analysing how this is found in the microprofile structure.

Evaluation of Different Modes for Yarding Windthrown Timber with a Double-Hitch Carriage

volume: 44, issue:

Yarding whole trees is the most efficient way of extracting timber in steep terrain and allows reaping the combined benefits of mechanization and biomass recovery. In downhill yarding, however, whole-tree extraction is associated with a greater risk of loosening rocks or debris by the incoming loads as they bounce around along the extraction corridor. That may also cause damage to the cables and anchors by corresponding shock loads, ultimately endangering the yarder and its crew. To avoid these risks, »double-hitch carriages« can be employed. They combine a conventional motorized dropline carriage with a secondary carriage (»trailer«), equipped with a further, independent dropline winch. Thus, loads can be attached at two points and transported fully suspended above the ground in a horizontal position.

Operation of these carriages may not be limited to the »horizontal« mode: the main carriage could also be operated without trailer (»single« mode), or separate loads may be attached to the two droplines (»double« mode), but their impact on the efficiency and economy of yarding operations is yet unknown. Therefore, the present study investigated how these modes affect the productivity and cost of downhill whole tree yarding. To this end, a classic time and motion study was conducted during a salvage logging operation in Northern Italy under a strictly controlled experimental design.

Average productivity (18.2±7.2 to 24.5±15.4 m³ PSH0-1 merchantable volume per productive system hour excluding delays) and extraction cost (18 to 20 Euro m-³) did not differ significantly between treatments, while load composition and time consumption by task did. More (2.2±0.5) pieces per load were yarded under the »double«, than under the »single« (1.4±0.5) and »horizontal« (1.1±0.3) treatments. Inhaul speed (3.1±0.6 m s-1) was significantly higher under the »horizontal« treatment, which compensated for increased loading time derived from attaching the load at least at one point outside the corridor. Unloading took significantly longer under the »double« treatment, as loads had to be dropped successively due to the confined conditions on the landing. Though slowest (2.5±0.9 m s-1) during inhaul, the »single« treatment exhibited none of the other treatments disadvantages and larger loads could be accumulated due to partial suspension. From an economic viewpoint, the »horizontal« mode may only be warranted over yarding distances substantially beyond average. On shorter ones, it must be justified by other reasons, such as minimizing product contamination, soil disturbance or excessive strain to the skyline when the terrain profile impedes sufficient ground clearance.

Evaluating Productivity of Small-Scale Cable Yarding System Integrated with a Portable Winch

volume: 44, issue:

Small-scale forestry operations, which are used in non-industrial and site specific forestry, provide alternative logging methods suitable for precision forestry approach. In this study, a small-scale cable yarding system integrated with a portable winch was considered as alternative timber extraction method compared to a standard tower yarder. It was aimed to evaluate productivity of this yarding method, which was implemented during commercial harvesting activities performed in a 10.74 ha black pine stand located in Bursa province of Turkey. The main factors (i.e. slope, yarding distance, lateral pulling distance, log volume, log length), significantly affecting the productivity, were evaluated based on two slope classes (34–50% and 50–70%) and two yarding distances (100 m and 200 m). The results indicated that the average productivity was 0.95 m3/PMH and 0.90 m3/SMH. It was revealed that the productivity of the small-scale cable yarding decreased as the ground slope and the yarding distance increased. Statistical analysis indicated that there was a significant (p<0.001) relationship between productivity and log volume and length in four applications. On the other hand, it was found that there was a significant (p<0.05) relationship between productivity and lateral pulling distance in only the first application (34–50% slope; 100 m yarding distance). Considering the volume classes of the logs, it was determined that the productivity increased from the low volume class to the high volume class.


Web of Science Impact factor (2022): 3.200
Five-years impact factor: 3.000

Quartile: Q1 - Forestry

Subject area

Agricultural and Biological Sciences