Current issue: 57(2)
Under compilation: 57(3)
Young, dense forest in Finland and Sweden urgently need to receive first thinning. In such stands, conventional selective thinning methods make the harvester work time consuming and, thus, costly. To make small-sized trees economically competitive as raw material for bioenergy and biorefining, new harvesting technologies and/or thinning methods need to be developed. A potential solution is boom-corridor thinning (BCT), rendering effective cutting work. The aim of this study was to describe and compare the stand structure of two Scots pine stands (Pinus sylvestris L.) and one birch-dominated (Betula pendula Roth with natural downy birch, B. pubescens Ehrh.) stand after BCT and selective thinning at the first thinning phase. Furthermore, simulations were conducted to predict the future stand development after the first thinning treatments. The density of the growing stock was 16–46% higher after BCT treatment than after selective thinning because BCT stands included more small and supressed trees with a dbh < 100 mm. However, the numbers of future crop trees with a dbh > 140 mm per hectare were at the same level in both treatments. The stem volume removal per hectare did not differ between treatments. However, simulation of stand development and intermediate thinning and clearcutting revealed that the total removal volume was 10–18% higher in BCT stands compared to selectively thinned ones. The saw log volumes harvested did, however, not differ between treatments. This study shows that BCT generates stands with higher biodiversity compared to conventional thinning as higher levels of biomass removal can be reached throughout stand rotations.
Harvesting residues collected from the final cuttings of boreal forests are an important source of solid biofuel for energy production in Finland and Sweden. In the Finnish supply chain, the measurement of residues is performed by scales integrated in forwarders. The mass of residues is converted to volume by conversion factors. In this study, weather based models for defining the moisture content of residues were developed and validated. Models were also compared with the currently used fixed tables of conversion factors. The change of the moisture content of residues is complex, and an exact estimation was challenging. However, the model predicting moisture change for three hour periods was found to be the most accurate. The main improvement compared to fixed tables was the lack of a systematic error. It can be assumed that weather based models will give more reliable estimates for the moisture in varying climate conditions and the further development of models should be focused on obtaining more appropriate data from varying drying conditions in different geographical and microclimatological locations.
This study was aimed at determining the maximum cost level of artificial drying required for cost-efficient operation. This was done using a system analysis approach, in which the harvesting potential and procurement cost of alternative fuel chip production systems were compared at the stand and regional level. The accumulation and procurement cost of chipped delimbed stems from young forests were estimated within a 100 km transport distance from a hypothetical end use facility located in northern Finland. Logging and transportation costs, stumpage prices, tied up capital, dry matter losses and moisture content of harvested timber were considered in the study. Moisture content of artificially dried fuel chips made of fresh timber (55%) was set to 20%, 30% and 40% in the comparisons. Moisture content of fuel chips based on natural drying during storing was 40%. Transporting costs were calculated according to new higher permissible dimensions and weight limits for truck-trailers. The procurement cost calculations indicated that with artificial drying and by avoiding dry material losses of timber, it could be possible to reduce current costs of the prevailing procurement system based on natural drying of timber at roadside landings. The maximum cost level of artificial drying ranged between 1.2–3.2 € MWh–1 depending on the supply chain, moisture content and procurement volume of fuel chips. This cost margin corresponds to, e.g., organization, forwarding and transportation costs or stumpage price of delimbed stems.
The primary aim of this study was to clarify the chipping productivity and fuel consumption of tractor-powered and truck-mounted drum chippers when chipping pine pulpwood at a terminal. The secondary aim was to evaluate the impact of wood storage time on the chemical and physical technical specifications of wood chips by chipping pulpwood from eight different storage time groups, using Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) pulpwood stems logged between 2 and 21 months previously at the terminal with the above-mentioned chippers. Thirdly, the impact of sieve mesh size on the particle size distribution of wood chips from different age groups was compared by using an 80 mm × 80 mm sieve for a tractor-powered chipper and a 100 mm × 100 mm sieve for a truck-mounted chipper. With both chippers, the chipping productivity grew as a function of grapple load weight. The average chipping productivity of the tractor-powered chipper unit was 19 508 kg (dry mass) per effective hour (E0h), and for the truck-mounted chipper the average productivity was 31 184 kg E0h–1. The tractor-powered drum chipper’s fuel consumption was 3.1 litres and for the truck-mounted chipper 3.3 litres per chipped 1000 kg (dry mass). The amount of extractives or volatiles did not demonstrate any statistically significant differences between storage time groups. The particle size distributions with both chippers were quite uniform, and the storage time of pulpwood did not have a significant effect on the particle size distribution in any chip size classes. One reason for this might be that the basic density of chipped wood was homogenous and there was no statistical difference between different storage times. The use of new sharp knives is likely to have affected chip quality, as witnessed by the absence of oversized particles and the moderate presence of fines. The use of narrower 80 mm × 80 mm sieves on Scots pine material does not seem to offer any benefit compared to 100 mm × 100 mm from the chip quality point of view.