In-stand debarking with the use of modified harvesting heads: a potential solution for key challenges in European forestry

Abstract

Modern forestry is increasingly confronted with challenges that appear with intensive forest management and the progression of the effects of climate change. The forestry sector is able to react to the changing conditions by adapting management plans, forest structure or planting tree species with a higher stress resistance. However, during stand management activities, silvicultural treatments and harvesting operations can have an impact on the further development of the remaining forest ecosystem. In Germany, the most widely used harvesting system for thinning operations is a single-grip harvester used for felling and processing trees followed by a forwarder for timber extraction from the machine operating trails to roadside. In this research project, debarking rollers and other modifications designed for Eucalyptus harvesting heads were tested on conventional harvesting heads for the first time to assess the possibility of adding debarking to mechanized forest operations under Central European conditions. Seven field tests with varying tree species, diameters and age classes, were established within German state forests in Lower Saxony and in Bavaria. These tests were repeated in both summer and winter seasons to evaluate the influence of associated tree sap flows on debarking quality. Three different harvesting heads were modified to assess the altered mechanical characteristics and setups. To assess debarking ability originating from head modifications, a photo-optical measurement system developed within the scope of the project was used. The results demonstrate that especially for summertime operations, simple modifications to currently used harvesting heads are able to provide an average debarking efficiency up to 90% depending on the modifications. Another key finding is that a negatively affected sap flow, experienced during wintertime operations, resulted in 46% lower debarking efficiency, while spruce bark beetle infestations only resulted in a wider spread of the variation. Additionally, the vertical position of the log within the tree proved to have an influence on debarking efficiency, resulting in 15% lower average debarking for butt logs and 9% for top logs as compared to middle logs. Since a debarking process requires the stem to be fed through the harvesting head on multiple occasions to remove bark, average harvesting productivity might be reduced by approx. 10% compared to productivity measured with conventional harvesting heads. Considering the results and the extent of the modifications, the system proved to be a potential addition to existing harvesting methods facing changing challenges in future forestry.

mehr

Mehr zum Titel

Titel In-stand debarking with the use of modified harvesting heads: a potential solution for key challenges in European forestry
Medien European Journal of Forest Research
Verlag ---
Heft ---
Band 138
ISBN ---
Verfasser/Herausgeber Dr. rer. nat. Joachim Bernd Heppelmann, Prof. Dr. Eric R. Labelle, Prof. Dr. Stefan Wittkopf, Prof. Dr. Ute Seeling
Seiten 1067-1081
Veröffentlichungsdatum 05.09.2019
Projekttitel Debarking Heads II
Zitation Heppelmann, J.; Labelle, E.; Wittkopf, S.; Seeling, U. (2019): In-stand debarking with the use of modified harvesting heads: a potential solution for key challenges in European forestry. European Journal of Forest Research 138, S. 1067-1081. DOI: 10.1007/s10342-019-01225-y