Current issue: 56(2)
Under compilation: 56(3)
Because today’s tree planting machines do a good job silviculturally, the Nordic forest sector is interested in finding ways to increase the planting machines’ productivity. Faster seedling reloading increases machine productivity, but that solution might require investments in specially designed seedling packaging. The objective of our study was to compare the cost-efficiency of cardboard box concepts that increase the productivity of tree planting machines with that of today’s two most common seedling packaging systems in southern Sweden. We modelled the total cost of these five different seedling packaging systems using data from numerous sources including manufacturers, nurseries, contractors, and forest companies. Under these southern Swedish conditions, the total cost of cardboard box concepts that increase the productivity of intermittently advancing tree planting machines was higher than the cost of the cultivation tray system (5–49% in the basic scenario). However, the conceptual packaging system named ManBox_fast did show promise, especially with increasing primary transport distances and increased planting machine productivities and hourly costs. Thus, our results show that high seedling packing density is of fundamental importance for cost-efficiency of cardboard box systems designed for mechanized tree planting. Our results also illustrate how different factors in the seedling supply chain affect the cost-efficiency of tree planting machines. Consequently, our results underscore that the key development factor for mechanized tree planting in the Nordic countries is the development of cost-efficient seedling handling systems between nurseries and planting machines.
For constructing growth and yield models the concept of site index as measure of productivity is crucial. Here, we use nonlinear mixed-effects models (NLME) with random individual effects and nonlinear models with dummy variables as fixed individual effects (NLFE) to fit mechanistic growth functions to stem analysis data of the economically most important tree species in Zhongtiaoshan forest region, China. The Richards and Lundqvist function are formulated into five dynamic equations (R1, R2, L1, L2 and L3) applying the generalized algebraic difference approach (GADA), which inherit polymorphism, varying asymptotes and base-age invariance. According to Akaike information criterion the R1 model as NLFE fits height growth data of Pinus tabuliformis Carrière, Pinus armandii Franch., Quercus liaotungensis Koidz., Quercus aliena Blume and Betula platyphylla Sukaczev best, while for Quercus variabilis Blume R2 as NLFE fits height growth data best. For Larix principis-rupprechtii Mayr L1 as NLME has been selected as best model, as R1 and R2 both as NLFE and NLME are not extrapolating the comparably short length of height growth data well enough. However, according to the root mean square error and bias differences between model fits of both the selected equation and the chosen model fitting approach are not so clear. Presented families of height growth curves serve as planning tools to identify site index and therefore assess productivity of forest stands in the studied region. A direct comparison of the productivity of forest stands of the same tree species is possible due to base-age invariance of the selected models.