FERIC has developed considerable expertise in the use of onboard computers in forestry transportation operations. This report has been prepared in response to member requests for a concise summary of this knowledge. It presents an overview of the technology, the results of case studies, and implementation advice for those who are interested in adopting the technology.
In 1997, FERIC, Alberta Research Council (ARC), Ainsworth Lumber Inc., and Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. conducted a study to determine the productivities and costs of various methods of managing logging debris in aspen cutblocks. Conventional roadside processing, two in-block processing treatments (intermediate skid and at-the-stump processing), and roadside processing with subsequent dispersal of slash into the block were assessed.
In 1996 FERIC studied commercial thinning on seven operating areas in Alberta in order to quantify the effect of tree size and stand density on harvester and forwarder productivities. As well, the cost of harvester and forwarder operations was determined and slash loading and damage to residual trees were measured.
In November 1998, FERIC, at the request of Spray Lake Sawmills (1980) Ltd., conducted operational and post-harvest monitoring on feathered block boundaries to determine productivities of mechanical felling and residual tree damage.
In 1999, FERIC cooperated with the Forest Ecosystem Branch, Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM) in an assessment of the Donaren 870 H silvicultural mounder operating on two site types in Saskatchewan. Areas shear bladed and those not shear bladed were studied to compare the quality and quantity of mounds produced.
The majority of wood hauled by trucks commonly occurs during the winter months when forest access roads are frozen. The Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) performed a study to explore how log transportation could be extended into the summer months when roads are not frozen. FERIC used the Opti-Grade system to compare truck travel speeds between the summer and winter operating months over a two-year period and to help identify variables affecting travel speeds.