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Simulation of harvester productivity in selective and boom-corridor thinning of young forests

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Forest management practices may change in the future, due to increases in the extraction of forest fuel in first thinnings. Simulation models can be used to aid in developing new harvesting systems. We used such an approach to assess the productivity of innovative systems in various thinnings of young stands with wide ranges of mean breast height diameter (1.5–15.6 cm), stems per hectare (1000–19,100), and mean height (2.3–14.6 m).

The results show that selective multiple-tree-handling increases productivity by 20–46% compared to single-tree-handling. If the trees are cut in boom-corridors (10×1 or 2 m strips between strip roads), productivity increases up to 41%, compared to selective multiple-tree-handling. Moreover, if the trees are felled using area-based felling systems, productivity increases by 33–199%, compared to selective multiple-tree-handling. For any given harvesting intensity, productivity increased the most in the densest stands with small trees.

The results were used to derive time consumption functions. Comparisons with time study results suggest that our simulation model successfully mimicked productivity in real-life forest operations, hence the model and derived functions should be useful for cost calculations and evaluating forest management scenarios in diverse stands.

Keywords: Bioenergy; forest fuel; geometric thinning; multiple-tree-handling; roundwood; single-tree-handling; time consumption; tree sections

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Forest Resource Management, SLUUmeå, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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