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Research article2007Peer reviewedOpen access

Simulation of geometric thinning systems and their time requirements for young forests

Bergstrom D, Bergsten U, Nordfjell T, Lundmark T


In Fennoscandia, large areas that have not been subjected to pre-commercial thinning (PUT), and thus support dense stands, are becoming suitable for harvesting biomass. However, efficient systems for harvesting biomass from young stands have not yet been developed. In order to optimise biomass harvesting it is here hypothesized that the handling unit should not be a single tree but a corridor area, i.e., all trees in a specific area should be harvested in the same crane movement cycle. Three types of corridor harvesting approaches (using accumulating felling heads for geometric harvesting in two different patterns) were compared in terms of time required to fell a corridor of standardised size. Corridors are defined as strips of harvested areas between conventional strip-roads. Harvests were simulated in two types of stands, first thinning (FT) and delayed PCT stands, in which the spatial positions of the trees had been mapped. The differences in simulated time consumption per corridor were minor when the only variable changed was the corridor pattern. However, there were ca. 2-fold and 3-fold differences in simulated time consumption per corridor between the harvesting approaches for the FT stand and the PCT-stand, respectively. Furthermore, area handling (felling head accumulating all trees corridor-wise, with no restrictions on the accumulated number of trees except for a certain load limit) was found to give up to 2.4-told increases in productivity compared to a single-tree (reference) approach for the FT stand. In conclusion, the simulation results clearly show the benefits of applying area-harvesting systems in young, dense stands

Published in

Silva Fennica
2007, Volume: 41, number: 1, pages: 137-147