Harvest operations on soft soils can be particularly challenging in order to respect site and soil disturbance guidelines as well as operational requirements. To address the challenges of operating on soft soils, FPInnovations has worked on solutions designed to reduce disturbance on weak soils while minimizing implementation and investment costs by using machines already being used in the operation.
FERIC compared three harvesting systems (full-tree, tree-length, and cut-to length) on a clay site in northwestern Québec. None of the systems limited rutting to below the acceptable target level; however, cut-to-length harvesting (using a three-machine system) showed slightly better results than the other two systems.
Forest-origin biomass estimates were made by FPInnovations for a location in Northern Alberta, largely following the process previously established for six BC Timber Supply Areas using FPInterface (2010 13). The biomass inventory was based on 20-year harvest and road network plans for Crown land provided by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry as well as local forest tenure holders. Includes Excel data sheet which is saved separately at \\fpinnovations.lan\structure\Commun_Common\Publications\FOP/2017N38.XLSX
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.
In 1997, FERIC studied a partial cutting operation in the Interior Cedar-Hemlock biogeoclimate zone, on a site west of Kitwanga, B.C. The operation used a Skylead C40 16000 skidder-mounted yarder and Mini-Maki II radio-controlled carriage in a standing skyline configuration and in single-and multi-span applications. The study provided information on productivity and costs for the harvesting system, impact on soil surface conditions, and damage to the residual stand. Productivity functions were derived to predict yarding productivity and costs over a range of operation conditions.
This report represents a breakdown of typical wood harvesting costs in eastern Canada using full-tree and cut-to-length systems. Representative costs were calculated on the basis of harvesting under favorable stand and site conditions, and the resultant costs were allocated to various accounting items (e.g. labor vs machine costs) and to each major work cycle phase. A sensitive analysis based on terrain and tree size variations was also conducted.
FERIC studied three harvesting systems in clearcut operations to define their specific productivities and costs under the harvesting conditions typical of mixedwood forest; the systems comprised mechanized full-tree and cut-to-length systems, as well as manual system. FERIC compared their productivities with those typically observed in softwood stands and found that all three systems had lower productivities in mixedwood forest than in softwood forest at comparable stem volumes. The total harvesting cost, including the cost of loading, was higher than in softwood forest, and the manual system showed the greatest cost increase. Felling, delimbing, processing, and loading costs all increased for comparable volumes per stem and numbers of stems per hectare; however, since the average volume per stem is often greater in mixedwood forest than in softwood forest, the actual overall harvesting costs become comparable.