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Research article2015Peer reviewedOpen access

Effect of stump size and timing of stump harvesting on ground disturbance and root breakage diameter

Berg, Simon; Bergström, Dan; Nordfjell, Tomas


Stump wood is a possible alternative to fossil fuel. Its harvesting, however, disturbs the ground and this has not yet been quantified at stump level. Such disturbance is likely to be dependent on stump size, type of soil and timing of stump harvesting. Therefore, we measured ground disturbance and root breakage diameter at two Norway spruce sites with sandy glacial till soil. The sites were harvested with a fork type head, 6 and 18 months after clear cutting. Measurements were made within 2 weeks of harvest. No difference was found between the two sites. The mean area of disturbed ground was 6.06 (std 3.14) m(2) per stump and increased exponentially with stump size. A regression function modelling the relationship was constructed. Unexpectedly, many fine roots where extracted in the harvest. The arithmetic and basal area weighted mean root breakage diameter was 4.6 (std 2.2) and 29.5 (std 17.9) mm, respectively. There seems to be a limited increase in root breakage diameter with increased stump size. The small root breakage diameter is associated with reduced fuel quality and greater nutrient removal. It appears that much of the ground disturbance is associated with the creation of ruts rather than stump harvest per se. Stump harvesting disturbs a larger percentage of the area of a harvested site than mounding. Postponing stump harvest by one year did not decrease the ground disturbance or increase the root breakage diameter. To achieve less disturbance and larger root breakage diameter, probably new stump harvesting technology is required.


stump harrow; Ecorex30; Picea abies; site impact; Sweden; glacial till soil; scarification

Published in

Silva Fennica
2015, Volume: 49, number: 5, article number: 1312