Current issue: 56(2)
Based on data from long-term experimental fields with Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.), we developed new stem taper and bark functions for Norway. Data was collected from 477 trees in stands across Norway. Three candidate functions which have shown good performance in previous studies (Kozak 02, Kozak 97 and Bi) were fitted to the data as fixed-effects models. The function with the smallest Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) was then chosen for additional analyses, fitting 1) site index-dependent and 2) age-dependent versions of the model, and 3) fitting a mixed-effects model with tree-specific random parameters. Kozak 97 was found to be the function with the smallest AIC, but all three tested taper functions resulted in fairly similar predictions of stem taper. The site index-dependent function reduced AIC and residual standard error and showed that the effect of site index on stem taper is different in small and large trees. The predictions of the age-independent and age-dependent models were very close to each other. Adding tree-specific random parameters to the model clearly reduced AIC and residual variation. However, the results suggest that the mixed-effects model should be used only when it is possible to calibrate it for each tree, otherwise the fixed-effects Kozak 97 model should be used. A model for double bark thickness was also fitted as fixed-effects Kozak 97 model. The model behaved logically, predicting larger relative but smaller absolute bark thickness for small trees.
Airborne laser scanning (ALS) data is nowadays often available for forest inventory purposes, but adequate field data for constructing new forest attribute models for each area may be lacking. Thus there is a need to study the transferability of existing ALS-based models among different inventory areas. The objective of our study was to apply ALS-based mixed models to estimate the diameter, height and crown base height of individual sawlog sized Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris L.) at three different inventory sites in eastern Finland. Different ALS sensors and acquisition parameters were used at each site. Multivariate mixed-effects models were fitted at one site and the models were validated at two independent test sites. Validation was carried out by applying the fixed parts of the mixed models as such, and by calibrating them using 1–3 sample trees per plot. The results showed that the relative RMSEs of the predictions were 1.2–6.5 percent points larger at the test sites compared to the training site. Systematic errors of 2.4–6.2 percent points also emerged at the test sites. However, both the RMSEs and the systematic errors decreased with calibration. The results showed that mixed-effects models of individual tree attributes can be successfully transferred and calibrated to other ALS inventory areas in a level of accuracy that appears suitable for practical applications.
The effect of harvester operator tree selection or prior tree marking in thinning operations on satisfactory results and performance has been widely discussed. In harvester operator tree selection, the machine operator decides on the fly which trees are selected to remain or cut. The objective of the study was to analyze the effect of prior tree marking, thinning method and topping diameter on harvester performance in low-diameter thinning operations. The entire thinning operation was captured using video technology. Overall, 2.36 ha divided into 48 plots with 5202 trees were thinned with an average diameter at breast height (dbh) over bark for all plots of between 12.5 and 14.7 cm. In total, 3122 trees were harvested, resulting in 60% removal of stem number over all plots. The harvester achieved a mean productivity of 7.38 m3 PMH0–1 with 1.48 m3 PMH0–1 SEM, with stem volume having the major influence on harvesting productivity. Prior tree marking, topping and thinning method did not significantly affect productivity. Without prior tree marking by the foresters, harvesting removal was shifted toward lower diameters. Within the unmarked plots, 7.0% of the residual trees were damaged compared with 3.2% in marked plots.
Accurately positioned single-tree data obtained from a cut-to-length harvester were used as training harvester plot data for k-nearest neighbor (k-nn) stem diameter distribution modelling applying airborne laser scanning (ALS) information as predictor variables. Part of the same harvester data were also used for stand-level validation where the validation units were stands including all the harvester plots on a systematic grid located within each individual stand. In the validation all harvester plots within a stand and also the neighboring stands located closer than 200 m were excluded from the training data when predicting for plots of a particular stand. We further compared different training harvester plot sizes, namely 200 m2, 400 m2, 900 m2 and 1600 m2. Due to this setup the number of considered stands and the areas within the stands varied between the different harvester plot sizes. Our data were from final fellings in Akershus County in Norway and consisted of altogether 47 stands dominated by Norway spruce. We also had ALS data from the area. We concentrated on estimating characteristics of Norway spruce but due to the k-nn approach, species-wise estimates and stand totals as a sum over species were considered as well. The results showed that in the most accurate cases stand-level merchantable total volume could be estimated with RMSE values smaller than 9% of the mean. This value can be considered as highly accurate. Also the fit of the stem diameter distribution assessed by a variant of Reynold’s error index showed values smaller than 0.2 which are superior to those found in the previous studies. The differences between harvester plot sizes were generally small, showing most accurate results for the training harvester plot sizes 200 m2 and 400 m2.
Due to changes in forest management in various European countries, hardwood forest areas and amounts will increase. Sustainable and individual utilization concepts have to be developed for the upcoming available resource. Studies conclude that there is low potential for hardwoods in the traditional appearance market thus the application areas have to be extended to new structural innovative products. This paper examines the extension to a future laminated beech wood supply network which would be a combination of already existing and new production facilities. For a better future use of hardwood raw materials it is necessary to consider the entire supply chain. This also better shows a total hardwood value chain. Therefore, this paper provides data to the solid hardwood business and develops a mixed integer linear programming to design a laminated beech wood supply network. The model is applied to Austria as the sample region. It covers the important strategic decisions where to locate a downstream facility within the existing production network with the lowest supply network cost. Fourteen scenarios are developed to examine various future network configurations. Results about optimal material flows and used sawmills as well as downstream production facilities are presented in form of material and financial performances. Two optimal laminated beech production locations are determined by the calculated scenarios results, and the impact of a new sawmill is analyzed which is focused on beech.
Accumulated knowledge about the health benefits of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) has increased the demand and utilization of wild bilberries. Intensive berry picking by metal rakes is believed to cause damage in bilberry stands in areas under continuous picking pressure, and hence expected to hamper the production of berries in forthcoming years. We conducted an experiment to examine the effect of continuous bilberry picking by metal rake on the number of bilberry flowers and fruits, fruit mass, compensation for biomass loss after picking, and plant functional type abundance in the understorey in northern Finland. Bilberry lost less than 0.5% of its biomass annually during the three-year study period due to rake harvesting. The number of flowers was not significantly affected by damage caused by picking, while both fruit production and fruit set increased without any indication of reduced fruit mass, and biomass loss was fully compensated. Moreover, the relative abundance of plant functional types was not affected by picking during the study. We suggest that the low intensity and timing of damage act as a buffer against the adverse effects of picking on bilberry fruit production. On the basis of this study, it is reasonable to anticipate that there are no indications that current intensive berry picking would not be on a sustainable level.
Information on forest trafficability (i.e. carrying capacity of the forest floor) is required before harvesting operations in Southern Boreal forest conditions. It describes the seasons when harvesting operations may take place without causing substantial damage to the forest soil using standard logging machinery. The available trafficability information have been based on subjective observations made during the wood procurement planning. For supporting forest operations, an open access map product has been developed to provide information on trafficability of forests. The forest stands are distributed into classes that characterize different harvesting seasons based on topographic wetness index, amount of vegetation, ground water height and ditch depth. The main goal of this case study was to evaluate the information of the static forest trafficability map in relation to the detected rutting within logging tracks measured in the field. The analysis concentrated on thinning stands since the effect of rutting is significant on the growth of the remaining trees. The results showed that the static trafficability map provided reliable and slightly conservative estimation of the forest trafficability. The majority (91.7%) of the evaluated stands were harvested without causing significant damage if harvesting was timed correctly compared to the trafficability information. However, it should be pointed out that the weather history at small scale, the skills of a driver, and effects of used machinery are not considered in the map product although they can have a considerable impact on the rutting.
The use of a white-rot fungus, Chondrostereum purpureum (Pers. Ex Fr.) Pouzar, as a biocontrol agent against sprouting has been studied with good results. The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of two pre-commercial thinning machines, Tehojätkä and Mense, to spread an inoculum of C. purpureum as a biocontrol agent on freshly cut birch (Betula pendula Roth and B. pubescens Ehrh.), European aspen (Populus tremula L.), rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.), and goat willow (Salix caprea L.) stumps (the fungal treatment) and compare that to the control (cutting only, done by Tehojätkä). Efficacy was investigated in terms of stump mortality and the number of sprouts per stump. This study was conducted in one stand and sprouting was investigated for three years after treatment. The fungal treatment resulted in higher mortality of stumps (34.0% for Tehojätkä and 41.5% for Mense after three years), compared to the control (13.4%). However, the fungal treatment did not decrease the number of sprouts per stump compared to the control. The low occurrence of basidiomata indicates that the accuracy of the spreading mechanism was not satisfactory, causing low mortality figures for the fungal treatment compared to previous studies. In the future, this mechanized method may provide a promising alternative in sprout control if the spreading mechanisms, the accuracy of the treatment, and consequently the efficacy could be improved.