Costs of Harvesting Operations / Post-Harvest Soil Disturbance

The Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) monitored productivity and costs of mechanized, conventional, and horse skidding harvesting systems on six study blocks (two clearcuts, three heavy removals, and one light removal).
 

Cable skidder Feller buncher
Cable skidder in 30% removal treatment unit.
Feller-buncher in clearcut treatment unit.
Horse logging Skid road
Horse team in 30% removal treatment unit.
 Skid road for small cat yarding.

 FERICís objectives were to assess planning and harvesting productivities and costs; assess soil disturbance levels; and identify ways to improve operational planning and implementation of partial cutting silvicultural systems in Interior Cedar-Hemlock ecosystems.

Available Literature:

Thibodeau, E.D., R.D. Krag, and I.B. Hedin. 1996. Date Creek silvicultural systems trial: performance and productivity of ground-based harvesting systems in the Interior Cedar-Hemlock ecosystems of the Prince Rupert Forest Region. FERIC report SR-114.
Abstract:  The Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC) monitored productivities and costs of mechanized, conventional, and horse skidding harvesting systems on six study blocks (two clearcuts, three heavy removals, and one light removal).  FERICís objectives were to assess planning and harvesting productivities and costs; assess soil disturbance levels; and identify ways to improve operational planning and implementation of partial cutting silvicultural systems in Interior Cedar-Hemlock ecosystems.

Based on the actual workloads by study block and assumed productivities, the heavy removal and light removal prescriptions required 2.3 and 1.9 times the planning effort (on a per-hectare basis), respectively, of the clearcuts.  However, the heavy removal prescription recovered a substantially larger proportion of the devoloped timber volume and therefore using planning resources more efficiently than the light removal prescription.  Costs of planning and layout were estimated at $0.65/m3 for clearcut harvests, $2.66/m3 for heavy removal harvests, and $4.66/m3 for light removal harvests.  Overall planning, falling and skidding costs were estimated at $5.85/m3 for mechanized clearcut operations, $9.60/m3 for convential clearcut operations, $14.46-$14.51/m3 for combined conventional/mechanized operations in heavy removals, $19.00/m3 for conventional operations in heavy removals, and $28.95/m3 for horse skidding in the light removal.  Relative to the mechanized system, the conventional system had higher falling and skidding costs in the clearcut prescription, and higher skidding costs in the heavy removal prescription.  The horse skidding operation in the light removal prescription had the highest costs in all phases as well as overall.

The mechanized system is clearly the most cost-effective option for clearcut prescriptions and can work effectively in partial cutting if patch cutting is employed, at least for the site and stand conditions observed in this trial.  Finally, although expensive, horse skidding was well-suited for light removal in this trial in terms of ability to work in high-density stands.  However, production rates and costs cannot be readily compared to the other mechanical and conventional operations.
 
 

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