Integrated Harvesting of Medium Rotation Hybrid Poplar Plantations: Systems Compared

De Francesco, Fabio and Magagnotti, Natascia and Kováč, Barnabáš and Heger, Patrik and Heilig, Dávid and Heil, Bálint and Kovács, Gábor (2022) Integrated Harvesting of Medium Rotation Hybrid Poplar Plantations: Systems Compared. FORESTS, 13 (11). ISSN 1999-4907

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In this study, the authors provide a direct comparison made between whole tree-harvesting (WTH) and cut-to length (CTL) methods, which was conducted in two sites in the Slovak Republic and applied to poplar plantations. Both systems, WTH and CTL, have been employed at the highest mechanization level in two sites: “Nivky” and “Skalica”. Two different strategies, namely, “mass handling” and “small-scale mechanization”, have been used for WTH and CTL, respectively. The study results showed that the level of productivity (ODT SMH−1) in the felling operation was almost double for WTH than for the CTL method in Nivky (+84%) and more than double in Skalica (+113%). The extraction operation under WTH showed a productivity increase from one fifth (+20%) to more than double (104%) that of the CTL method in the Nivky and Skalica sites, respectively. Regarding cost-efficiency (EUR ODT−1), the WTH system offers a similar trend except with respect to extraction in Nivky (higher productivity site), in which the CTL extraction was 4.5% less expensive than the WTH extraction. The study results show that the mass-handling technique deployed in the WTH system offers very good performance in poorer plantations since the very small tree size and low-growing stock challenge the CTL system more than the WTH system. The total operation (felling, bucking, and extraction) costs (EUR ODT−1) recorded by the study in commercial conditions (as contractors perform for revenue purposes) were 32.50 and 45.80 EUR ODT−1 for CTL and 43.30 and 53.60 EUR ODT−1 for WTH for the higher-yield site (Nivky) and lower-yield site (Skalica), respectively. Regarding the WTH System, the researchers found that the drop in efficiency (and the consequent rise in the costs-per-ton of product) depends largely on the bucking phase conducted using the harvester at the landing of the stacked piles of interlocked trees. The main results of this study demonstrate the promising strategy of mass handling associated with the WTH system in medium rotation coppice (MRC) harvesting and shows that bucking is the weaker phase. Future efforts must be made to ensure feasibility of the “mass handling” strategy alongside the entire workflow by means of finding suitable mobile machinery that can delimb, debark, and crosscut tree bunches instead of single trees.

Tudományterület / tudományág

agricultural sciences > forestry and wildlife management


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Soproni Egyetem

Item Type: Article
SWORD Depositor: Teszt Sword
Depositing User: Csaba Horváth
Identification Number: MTMT:33271863
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2022 12:40
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2022 12:40

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