Attitudes towards mechanized Cut-to-Length technology among logging contractors in Northern Italy
Abstract:While motor-manual short-wood harvesting still dominates Italian forest operations, there is a growing interest to introduce mechanization in order to reduce logging costs and increase work safety and comfort. Against this background, a survey was conducted for determining the attitudes of North Italian logging contractors towards mechanized Cut-to-Length (CTL) technology and to evaluate the potential of machine simulators when introducing mechanized harvesting for prospective users. A total of 90 persons were interviewed, after they tested a forwarder simulator; 74 interviews were valid and accepted into the study for statistical analysis. This sample was younger and contained a larger proportion of employers compared with the overall population of North Italian logging contractors. Respondents are aware of the significant potential of mechanized CTL technology, and of its notable safety benefit. People working with firewood seem to be keener than the others. The main obstacles to the expansion of mechanized CTL technology in Italy are financial, rather than technical. Harvester manufacturers trying to increase their sales in Italy may want to focus on simplified low-cost machines, suitable for application to general purpose prime movers and especially designed for firewood contractors. They should also target younger contractors, who are more familiar with computer technology. Forest machine simulators can help introducing CTL technology to Italy, but one needs to think about new ways to deploy them.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2012-12-01