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Review article2017Peer reviewed

Drivers of Advances in Mechanized Timber Harvesting - a Selective Review of Technological Innovation

Lindroos, Ola; La Hera, Pedro; Haggstrom, Carola


Timber harvesting operations vary greatly around the world, as do the adaptations of technology to the complex, locally variable conditions. Similarly, technological innovations occur as a response to a large number of different situations. This review examines the three main drivers considered to generate substantial technological change in mechanized timber harvesting: 1) availability of new technology, 2) demand for new products and 3) introduction of new regulations. The main focus is on Nordic cut-to-length harvesting using a harvester and forwarder, partly due to its advanced level of technology and partly due to the authors' backgrounds. Examining new technology, progress towards increased automation is highlighted with examples of entry-level products that provide computer-assisted motion control and semiautomation. Examples of unmanned machines and other high-level automation are also presented. Innovations in the field of bioenergy harvesting are presented as examples of advances addressing the demand for new products. Thus, illustrations span from harvesting of tree parts other than stemwood, to how such harvesting and transportation can be integrated into the traditional stemwood harvest. The impact of new regulations on technological innovation is demonstrated with advances aimed at reducing soil damage. Examples range from technical solutions for reducing soil pressure, to walking, flying and even climbing machines. Some predictions are given as to when certain advances can be expected to become reality. However, even though the main drivers are likely to change timber harvesting with new products and new rules, they will probably do so through a continued adaptation of technology to local needs.


mechanization; automation; technological change; harvester; forwarder; CTL; logging

Published in

Croatian Journal Of Forest Engineering
2017, Volume: 38, number: 2, pages: 243-258