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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Sustainability Assessment of Alternative Strip Clear Cutting Operations for Wood Chip Production in Renaturalization Management of Pine Stands

Schweier, Janine; Blagojevic, Bosko; Venanzi, Rachele; Latterini, Francesco; Picchio, Rodolfo


In Mediterranean regions, afforested areas were planted to ensure the permanence of land cover, and to protect against erosion and to initiate the vegetation processes. For those purposes, pine species were mainly used; however, many of these stands, without silvicultural treatments for over fifty-sixty years, were in a poor state from physical and biological perspective, and therefore, clear-cutting on strips was conducted as silvicultural operation with the aim to eliminate 50% of the pine trees and to favor the affirmation of indigenous broadleaves seedlings. At the same time, the high and increasing demand of the forest based sector for wood biomass related to energy production, needs to be supplied. In a modern and multifunctional forestry, in which society is asking for sustainable forestry and naturalistic forest management, forestry operations should ideally be carried out in a sustainable manner, thus support the concept of sustainable forest management. All these aspects are also related to the innovation in forestry sector for an effective energetic sustainability. Three different forest wood chains were applied in pine plantations, all differing in the extraction system (animal, forestry-fitted farm tractor with winch, and double drum cable yarder). The method of the sustainability impact assessment was used in order to assess potential impacts of these alternative management options, and a set of 12 indicators covering economic, environmental, and social dimensions was analyzed. Further, to support decision makers in taking informed decisions, multi-criteria decision analysis was conducted. Decision makers gave weight towards the indicators natural tree regeneration and soil biological quality to support the achievement of the forest management goal. Results showed that first ranked alternative was case 2, in which extraction was conducted by a tractor with a winch. The main reason for that lies in the fact that this alternative had best performance for 80% of the analyzed criteria.


horse skidding; winch skidding; cable yarder; life cycle assessment; societal assessment; economic assessment; multi-criteria decision analysis; sustainable forest management

Published in

2019, Volume: 12, number: 17
Publisher: MDPI

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


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