Current issue: 54(2)
Under compilation: 54(3)
Although crop tree release (CTR) in hardwood stands is an accepted variant of precommercial thinning (PCT), the lack of an affordable and feasible method hinders its adoption. CTR implies selecting between 150 and 500 trees ha–1 when trees are between 7 and 12 m high and cutting only stems competing with the target crop trees. We performed a field trial of a CTR variant of PCT in a 27.8 ha hardwood stand using a backpack mounted chain saw. A detailed time study was performed to document the trial over 13 days. Compared to conventional PCT performed earlier in the life of a stand, precommercial crop tree release required cutting larger stems, which showed to be feasible and productive using a backpack mounted chain saw. Productivity varied between 0.22 to 0.47 ha h–1 during the trial, Although productivity could vary with stand characteristics and worker, this proof of concept trial demonstrates some of the potential uses that this new saw configuration offers and sets the basis for an eventual larger scale deployment of this treatment.
Early thinnings are laborious and costly. Thus forest companies are searching for cost and time efficient ways to carry out this task. The study’s purpose was to determine the productivity of the EF28 accumulating energy wood harvesting head in harvesting small-diameter hornbeam (Carpinus betulus L.) undergrowth trees and evaluate the effect of its multi-tree handling (MTH) capacity on time consumption. The harvester was a wheeled, three-axle Komatsu 911. A time study of 7.1 hours on 19 plots, with a total area of 0.76 ha was conducted. On average, the harvested tree volume was 8 dm³ and the stand density was 2666 trees/ha. The productivity was modelled with MTH conduction, mean diameter at breast height and the number of trees handled per cycle as independent variables. On average, MTH took 27% longer per cycle, increased extracted volume per cycle by 33% and consequently increased productivity with 5.0%. In 71.9% of the cycles more than one tree was handled and if so, dimensions were smaller than in single-tree handling (5.8 cm vs. 12.0 cm). Maximum felling diameter of 23 cm was about 15% smaller than in softwood (according to the manufacturer’s specifications) and the driver didn’t exploit the EF28’s theoretical potential in terms of trees handled per cycle. It can be concluded that the head could significantly improve productivity in small-diameter wood procurement.