Research papers

Evaluation of different wood harvesting systems in typical Mediterranean small-scale forests: a Southern Italian case study


Use of small-scale harvesting equipment in forestry is increasing in many regions of the world and tractor-based systems
are the most common type of small-scale forestry equipment. This equipment is smaller, less expensive and less productive
than advanced forestry machines and the choice of method depends on forest site-specific conditions. In southern Italy the prevailing
conditions are those characteristic of small-scale forestry: harvested areas and volume are limited and ground-based extraction is
still the most common harvesting technique. Two harvesting systems conventionally adopted in Italian small-scale forestry are those
using either winch or grapple fitted farm tractors for wood extraction. A continuous time study was adopted to determine productivity
rates and wood extraction costs and develop skidding time prediction models for these two different wood harvesting systems as
used in typical Mediterranean forests, in chestnut and silver fir thinning operations. Comparing winch and grapple extraction revealed
considerable differences in productivity (2.91 and 5.92 m3 h-1 respectively). Factors significantly affecting productivity differences
were extraction distance and payload per turn. The study concluded that farm tractors can be used for small scale harvesting operations
and its results can be used to set piece rates, design and rationalize work and estimate costs. In order to sustain small-scale
harvesting equipment effectiveness, skid trails should be planned in forests. The use of farm tractors needs to be encouraged as an
alternative self-sufficient productivity method in small-scale forestry operations.


wood harvesting; time studies; productivity; farm tractors; mechanization.

Full Text:




Ackerman P., Belbo H., Eliasson L., de Jong A., Lazdins A., Lyons J. 2014 - The COST model for calculation of forest operations costs. International Journal of Forest Engineering 25(1): 75-81.

Akay A. 2005 - Determining cost and productivity of using animals in forest harvesting operations. Journal of Applied Sciences Research 1(2): 190–195.

Baraldi G., Cavalli R. 2008 - Innovazioni nel settore delle tecnologie meccaniche per le produzioni agricole e forestali di qualità. Italian Journal of Agronomy 3: 155–159.

Bîrda M. 2013 - Evaluation of winch performance in round wood harvesting. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov. Forestry, Wood Industry, Agricultural Food Engineering. Series II 6(2): 1.

Borz S.A., Ciobanu V. 2013 - Efficiency of motor-manual felling and horse logging in small-scale firewood production. African Journal of Agricultural Research 8 (24): 3126-3135. DOI: 10.5897/AJAR2013.7306

Borz S.A., Dinulică F., Bîrda M., Ignea G., Ciobanu V.D., Popa B. 2013 - Time consumption and productivity of skidding Silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) roundwood in reduced accessibility conditions: a case study in windthrow salvage logging form Romanian Carpathians. Annals of Forest Research 56(2): 363-375.

Borz S.A., Ignea G., Popa B., Spârchez G., Iordache E. 2015 - Estimating time consumption and productivity of roundwood skidding in group shelterwood system–a case study in a broadleaved mixed stand located in reduced accessibility conditions. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering: Journal for Theory and Application of Forestry Engineering 36 (1): 137-146.

Borz S.A., Niţă D., Talagai N., Scriba C., Grigolato S., Proto A.R. 2019 - Performance of small-scale technology in planting and cutback operations of willow short rotation crops. Transactions of the ASABE 62(1): 167-176.

Brachetti Montorselli N., Lombardini C., Magagnotti N., Marchi E., Neri F., Picchi G., Spinelli R. 2010 - Relating safety, productivity and company type for motor-manual logging operations in the Italian Alps. Accident Analysis and Prevention 42 (6): 2013–2017.

Calafatello A.R., Catania P., Vallone M., Pipitone F. 2005 - Technical analysis of mechanized yards in the forest utilization in Sicily. Journal of Agricultural Engineering 3: 55–59.

Câmpu V.R., Ciubotaru A. 2017 - Time consumption and productivity in manual tree felling with a chainsaw – a case study of resinous stands from mountainous areas. Silva Fennica 51 (2) 1657. 19 p.

Cavalli R. 2008 - Linee evolutive nel settore delle utilizzazioni forestali e dell’approvvigionamento del legname. (Innova- tions in the field of mechanical technologies for forest utilization and wood supply). L’Italia Forestale e Montana 4: 297–306.

Ciubotaru A., Maria G.D. 2012 - Research regarding structure of working time in spruce felling with mechanical chainsaw Husqvarna 365. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brașov, series II: forestry. Wood Industry. Agricultural Food Engineering 5 (54): 43-48.

Cosola G., Grigolato S., Ackerman P., Monterotti S., Cavalli R. 2016 - Carbon footprint of forest operations under different management regimes. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 37: 201-217.

Enache A., Kühmaier M., Visser R., Stampfer K. 2016 - Forestry operations in the European mountains: a study of current practices and efficiency gaps. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 31: 412–427.

Ghaffarian M.R., Shobani H. 2007 - Cost production study of motor-manually felling and processing of logs. Forest Science 3: 69-76.

Gilanipoor N., Najafi A., Heshmat Alvaezin S.M. 2012 - Productivity and cost of farm tractor skidding. Journal of Forest Science 58(1): 21–26.

Gülci S., Büyüksakallı H., Taş İ., Akay A.E. 2018 - Productivity Analysis of Timber Skidding Operation with Farm Tractor. European Journal of Forest Engineering 4(1): 26-32.

Gullberg T. 1995 - Evaluating operator-machine interactions in comparative time studies. Journal of Forest Engineering 7 (1): 51–61.

Gumus S., Turk Y. 2016 - A new skid trail pattern design for farm tractors using linear programing and Geographical Information Systems. Forests 7. 306 p.

Harstela P. 1993 - Works Studies in Forestry. Silva Carelica 25, Joensuu University Library: Joensuu, Finland. 35 p.

Heinrich R. 1999 - Sustainable forest harvesting 1. Environmentally sound forest harvesting operations. In: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Iranparast Bodaghi A., Nikooy M., Naghdi R., Venanzi R., Latterini F., Tavankar F., Picchio R. 2018 - Ground-Based Extraction on Salvage Logging in Two High Forests: A Productivity and Cost Analysis. Forests 9 (12). 729 p.

Johansson J. 1997 - Small tree harvesting with a farm tractor and a crane attached to the front. Journal of Forest Engineering 8 (1): 21–33.

Jourgholami M. 2014 - Productivity and cost of a small-scale timber forwarding system using farm tractors in the Hyrcanian forest, Northern Iran. Taiwan Journal of Forest Science 29 (2): 103-116.

Jourgholami M., Majnounian B., Zargham N. 2013 - Performance, capability and costs of motor- manual tree felling in Hyrcanian hardwood forest. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 34 (2): 283-293.

Kellogg L.D., Bettinger P., Studier D. 1993 - Terminology of Ground-Based Mechanized Logging in the Pacific Northwest. Research Contribution 1; Forest Research Laboratory, Oregon State University: Corvallis, OR, USA, 1993.

Koutsianitis D., Tsioras P.A. 2017 - Time consumption and production costs of two small-scale wood harvesting systems in northern Greece. Small-scale Forestry 16 (1): 19-35.

Leszczyński K., Stańczykiewicz A. 2015 - Workload analysis in logging technology employing a processor aggregated with a farm tractor. Forest systems 24 (2). 3 p.

Liepiņš K., Lazdiņš A., Liepiņš J., Prindulis U. 2015 - Productivity and cost-effectiveness of mechanized and motor-manual harvesting of grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench): a Case Study in Latvia. Small-scale forestry 14 (4): 493-506.

Liu S., Corcoran T.J. 1993 - Road and landing spacing under the consideration of surface dimension of road and landing. Journal of Forest Engineering 5: 49–53.

Lortz D., Kluender R., McCoy W., Stokes B., Klepac J. 1997 - Manual felling time and productivity in southern pine forests. Forest Product Journal 47 (10): 59-63.

Macrì G., Russo D., Zimbalatti G., Proto A.R. 2016 - Measuring the mobility parameters of tree-length forwarding systems using GPS technology in the Southern Italy forestry. Agronomy Research 14 (3): 836–845.

Masson S., Greek M. 2006 - Woodlot Management Home Study Course-Small Scale Harvesting Equipment. Halifax, NS, Canada: Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.

Melemez K., Tunay M., Emir T. 2014 - A comparison of productivity in five small-scale harvesting systems. Small-scale Forestry 13: 35–45.

Menemencioglu K., Acar H. 2004 - Ormancilikta bolmeden cikarma calismalarinda transport planlamasi ve etkileri. GU Orman Fakültesi Dergisi 4(2): 143- 163.

Mihelič M., Spinelli R., Poje A. 2018. - Production of Wood Chips from Logging Residue under Space-Constrained Conditions. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering: Journal for Theory and Application of Forestry Engineering 39 (2): 223-232.

Moskalik T., Borz S.A., Dvořák J., Ferencik M., Glushkov S., Muiste P., Lazdiņš A., Styranivsky O. 2017 - Timber harvesting methods in Eastern European countries: A review. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering: Journal for Theory and Application of Forestry Engineering 38 (2): 231-241.

Munteanu C., Yoshida M., Iordache E., Borz S.A., Ignea G. 2019 - Performance and cost of downhill cable yarding operations in a group shelterwood system. Journal of Forest Research: 1-6.

Nakahata C., Aruga K., Uemura R., Saito M., Kanetsuki K. 2014 - Examining the optimal method to extract logging residues from small-scale forestry in the Nasunogahara area, Tochigi prefecture, Japan. Small-scale forestry 13 (2): 251-266.

Nurminen T., Korpunen H., Uusitalo J. 2006 - Time consumption analysis of the mechanized cut-to-length harvesting system. Silva Fennica 40 (2): 335–363.

Olsen E.D., Kellogg L.L. 1983 - Comparison of time study techniques for evaluating logging production. Transactions of the ASAE 26 (6): 1665–1668.

Özturk T. 2010 - Productivity of New Holland farm tractor at beech stands on mountainous areas in Black Sea Region. Forestry Ideas 16 (1): 52-57.

Özturk T., Senturk N. 2010 - Productivity and time studies of MB Trac 900 tractor at beech stands on mountainous areas in Turkey. Baltic Forestry 16:132–137.

Philip M.S. 1994 - Measuring Trees and Forests. CAB International: Oxford, UK.

Picchio R., Neri F., Maesano M., Savelli S., Sirna A., Blasi S., Baldini S., Marchi E. 2011 - Growth effects of thinning damage in a Corsican pine (Pinus laricio Poiret) stand in central Italy. Forest Ecology and Management 262: 237–243.

Picchio R., Sirna A., Sperandio G., Spina R., Verani S. 2012 - Mechanized harvesting of eucalypt coppice for biomass production using high mechanization level. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 33: 15-24.

Picchio R., Spina R., Calienno L., Venanzi R., Lo Monaco A. 2016 - Forest operations for implementing silvicultural treatments for multiple purposes. Italian Journal of Agronomy 11: 156-161.

Proto A.R., Bacenetti J., Macrì G., Fiala M., Zimbalatti G. 2016a - Mechanisation of different logging operations: Environmental impact assessment using life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. Chemical Engineering Transactions 58: 229-234. https://10.3303/CET1758039

Proto A.R., Bacenetti J., Macrì G., Zimbalatti G. 2017 - Roundwood and bioenergy production from forestry: Environmental impact assessment considering different logging systems. Journal of Cleaner Production 165: 1485–1498.

Proto A.R., Macrì G., Sorgonà A., Zimbalatti G. 2016b - Impact of skidding operations on soil physical properties in southern Italy. Contemporary Engineering Sciences 9 (23): 1095-1104.

Proto A.R., Macrì G., Visser R., Hurril H., Russo D., Zimbalatti G. 2018c - Factors affecting forwarder productivity. European Journal of Forest Research 137(2): 143-151.

Proto A.R., Macrì G., Visser R., Harrill H., Russo D., Zimbalatti G. 2018a - A case study on the productivity of forwarder extraction in small-scale Southern Italian forests. Small-Scale Forestry 17 (1): 71–87.

Proto A.R., Macrì G., Visser R., Russo D., Zimbalatti G. 2018b - Comparison of timber extraction productivity between winch and grapple skidding: A Case study in Southern Italian Forests. Forests 9 (2). 61 p.

Pulkki R. 1997 - Cut-to-length, tree-length or full tree harvesting. Central Woodlands 1(3): 22-27.

Russell F., Mortimer D. 2005 - A review of small-scale harvesting systems in use worldwide and their potential application in Irish forestry. COFORD, Dublin. 56 p.

Savelli S., Cavalli R., Baldini S., Picchio R. 2010 - Small scale mechanization of thinning in artificial coniferous plantation. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 31(1): 11-21.

Sbera I. 2007 - Resursele de lemn şi potenţialul pieţei din România [Wood resources and the market potential in Romania]. Meridiane Forestiere 2: 3-7.

Spinelli R., Baldini S. 1992 - Productivity and cost analysis of logging arch used with farm tractor in Mediterranean forest skidding operations. Investigacion Agraria - Sistemas y Recursos Forestales 1(2): 211-221.

Spinelli R., Lombardini C., Magagnotti N. 2014 - The effect of mechanization level and harvesting system on the thinning cost of Mediterranean softwood plantations. Silva Fennica 48: 1–15.

Spinelli R., Magagnotti N. 2011 - The effects of introducing modern technology on the financial, labour and energy performance of forest operations in the Italian Alps. Forest Policy and Economics 13 (7): 520-524.

Spinelli R., Magagnotti N. 2012 - Wood extraction with farm tractor and sulky: estimating productivity; cost and energy consumption. Small-Scale Forestry 11: 73–85.

Stankić I., Poršinsky T., Tomašic Ž., Tonkovic I., Frntic M. 2012 - Productivity models for operational planning of timber forwarding in Croatia. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 33: 61–78.

UK Forestry Commission 1995 - Terrain Classification; Technical Note 16/95. Forestry Commission: Dumfries, UK.

Uotila K., Saksa T., Rantala J., Kiljunen N. 2014 - Labour consumption models applied to motor- manual pre-commercial thinning in Finland. Silva Fennica 48 (2): 982. doi. org/10.14214/sf.982.

Zeĉiĉ Z., Krpan A., Vukuśic S. 2005 - Productivity of Holder 870 tractor with double drum winch Igland 4002 in thinning beech stands. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 26: 49-56.

Zimbalatti G., Proto A.R. 2009 - Cable logging opportunities for firewood in Calabrian forest. Biosystems Engineering 102: 63–68.

Zimbalatti G., Proto A.R. 2010 - Productivity of forwarders in south Italy. In Forest Engineering: Meeting the Needs of the Society and the Environment. Padova: 12-14.

Copyright (c) 2020 Maria Francesca Cataldo, Andrea Rosario Proto, Giorgio Macrì, Giuseppe Zimbalatti

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License

All texts reported in and all materials directly downloadable from this page are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.