Current forest management policy in many jurisdictions in North America manages excess woody debris by piling and burning it, mainly as a post-harvest fire hazard abatement obligation. This study highlights three key points to consider regarding utilization and disposal of waste wood piles:
1) Allocate most woody debris waste to the biofuels sector in a cost-effective manner;
2) Allocate a small portion of woody debris (e.g. 10-15%) to implement windrow habitats where necessary to maintain mammalian biodiversity on clearcuts;
3) Limit burning of waste wood to those sites near human activity (potential fire hazard) that do not have an opportunity for biofuels or windrow purposes.
FPInnovations has developed a simulation based decision support tool to help log and sort yard managers quickly evaluate and quantify the impact of changes in the yard operation in a virtual framework. Some examples of changes that could be evaluated by the model include changes in the infrastructure, yard layout, machine combination, and yard throughput. The tool was tested and validated in a coastal log and sort yard, and is customizable to log and sort yards with similar operation. In this report, the model, its capabilities, and results from the test site are presented.