Research papers

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


Abstract


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.


Keywords

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

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12899/asr-1883

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