UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Forwarder Productivity in Salvage Logging Operations in Difficult Terrain Cadei, Alberto; Mologni, Omar; Röser, Dominik; Cavalli, Raffaele; Grigolato, Stefano


Large scale windthrow salvage logging is increasing in Central Europe because of the growth of severe atmospheric events due to global heating. Sustainable forest operations in these conditions are challenging in terms of both productivity performances and safety of the operations. Fully mechanized harvesting systems are the preferred solution on trafficable terrains and proper slopes. However, different work methods and logistic organization of the operations could largely change the overall performances. The study observed three harvesting sites based on fully mechanized cut-to-length systems and located in areas affected by the Vaia storm, which hit north-eastern Italy in October 2018. The objectives were to estimate forwarder productivity in salvage logging in difficult terrain and to identify significant variables affecting this productivity under real working conditions. Time and motion studies were carried out and covered 59.9 PMH15, for a total of 101 working cycles, extracting a total volume of 1277 m3 of timber. Average time consumption for each site was 38.7, 42.2, and 25.1 PMH15 with average productivity of 22.5, 18.5, and 29.4 m3/PMH15, respectively, for Sites A, B, and C. A total of seven explanatory variables significantly affected forwarder productivity. Average load volume, maximum machine inclination during loading, and number of logs positively affected the productivity. On the contrary, travel distance, load volume, maximum ground slope during moving and loading have a negative influence. With an average travel distance of 500 m, the productivity resulted 20.52, 16.31, and 23.03 m3/PMH15, respectively, for Sites A, B, and C. An increase of 200 m of travel distance causes a decrease in productivity of 6%.

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