Research Article

Integrated harvesting for conventional log and energy wood assortments: a case study in a pine plantation in Western Australia

Published in: Southern Forests: a Journal of Forest Science
Volume 77, issue 4, 2015 , pages: 249–254
DOI: 10.2989/20702620.2015.1052946
Author(s): Mohammad R GhaffariyanAustralian Forest Operations Research Alliance (AFORA), University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, Raffaele SpinelliCNR-IVALSA, Italy, Natascia MagagnottiCNR-IVALSA, Italy, Mark BrownAustralian Forest Operations Research Alliance (AFORA), University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Abstract

Biomass or energy wood harvesting can be integrated with conventional log harvesting (saw log or pulpwood production) to allow more cost-effective energy wood supply. The efficiency of an integrated energy wood harvesting system was evaluated and compared with conventional log harvesting in a 32-year-old Pinus radiata plantation (radiata pine) located in south-west Western Australia. The harvesting system consisted of a harvester and a forwarder. The study included two treatments: a conventional log-harvesting operation where merchantable sawlogs and pulp logs were produced at the stump by the harvester and extracted by the forwarder; and an integrated energy wood operation where the harvester produced sawlogs, pulp logs and energy wood at the stump that were extracted by the forwarder. In the integrated energy wood harvesting plot, 37 m3 ha−1 of energy wood was extracted in addition to the sawlog and pulp log volumes. Extracting the additional energy wood reduced the productivity of the forwarder and increased the cost of extraction (AU$2.7 m−3) compared with the control plot (AU$2.2 m−3). Harvesting system cost was not significantly impacted, with a cost of AU$3.18 m−3 in the control plot and AU$3.23 m−3 in the integrated energy wood harvesting plot. Diameter at breast height (DBH) was a significant factor influencing the working time of the harvester, whereas load volume, extraction distance and extraction type (sawlog, pulp logs, and pulp log/energy wood) significantly impacted forwarding time. Increasing DBH resulted in longer working cycles for the harvester. Heavier loads and longer forwarding distances increased forwarding cycle time, while extracting sawlogs was least expensive and energy wood extraction was the most expensive. The marginal cost of the energy wood was approximately AU$10.2 m−3 (AU$7.0 extraction and AU$3.2 harvesting), which is about double the cost of the sawlogs. Additional material recovered in the integrated energy wood plot resulted in less residual residues on the plot (103.2 green metric tonnes per hectare [GMt ha−1]) than the control plot (144.2 GMt ha−1).

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