Forest Mechanization and Harvesting—Trends and Perspectives

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Operations and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 6328

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Rome, Italy
Interests: wood; forest; carbon sink; mechanization; circular economy; geomatics; critical earth zones

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Sustainable Biomaterials & Bioenergy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA
Interests: lignin; biomaterials; forest; harvest; biomass; logistics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are happy to announce the release of the current Special Issue “Forest Mechanization and Harvesting—Trends and Perspectives”.

Increased societal awareness of the importance of forests in climate change mitigation, has brought more attention to forest harvesting. Now is the time to produce woody raw materials at an unprecedented level of quality using sustainable, economically efficient, and ethical methods.

Forestry firms and companies (recipient of new technologies) needs to remain competitive in the forest product and bioproduct market, hence the introduction of innovation must be tested against work efficiency.

Forests are spatially distributed resources that benefit from a local supply chain perspective of harvesting operations. Precision Forestry allows finer scale management for forest products tanks to improved decision support systems and purpose-built real-time assistive tools (automation, information, and alert systems).

This Special Issue focuses on the topic of wood resource extraction (timber, firewood, paper pulp, woodchips, etc.) aimed to supply emerging industrial needs, and in particular:

  • Operator safety and ergonomics;
  • Improved work efficiency;
  • Integrated harvesting;
  • Traceability along the supply chain from forest to end user;
  • Yarding technology;
  • Low soil impacting machines or techniques;
  • Advanced technologies in forest and biomass harvest.

Dr. Fabio De Francesco
Prof. Dr. Jingxin Wang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • forest mechanization
  • timber extraction
  • biomass
  • ergonomics
  • efficiency
  • precision forestry
  • plantation forestry

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 2505 KiB  
Article
A Simulation Study of Noise Exposure in Sledge-Based Cable Yarding Operations
by Stelian Alexandru Borz, Piotr S. Mederski and Mariusz Bembenek
Forests 2024, 15(2), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/f15020360 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 671
Abstract
Ensuring the safety of forestry workers is a key challenge, particularly when working with partly mechanized harvesting systems. Cable yarding is typically used in steep terrain timber harvesting. For long-distance extraction, one of the few alternatives is to use sledge yarders, but these [...] Read more.
Ensuring the safety of forestry workers is a key challenge, particularly when working with partly mechanized harvesting systems. Cable yarding is typically used in steep terrain timber harvesting. For long-distance extraction, one of the few alternatives is to use sledge yarders, but these machines may expose workers to high doses of noise. The goal of this study was to model haulers’ exposure to noise in sledge-based cable yarding operations, based on a simulation approach that considered variable factors such as the yarding distance, lateral yarding distance, and average skyline height. Taken into consideration were 165 scenarios developed by examining the variation in yarding distance (500 to 1500 m, with a step of 100 m), lateral yarding distance (10 to 50 m, with a step of 10 m), and average skyline height above the ground (10, 15, and 20 m). The simulations assumed an 8-h working day with a break of 1 h. The models and statistics published by other studies were used to calculate the time consumption and number of work cycles completed within a working day. These data were used to compute the equivalent exposure to noise (LAeq) for each scenario, as well as for those work elements that were likely to expose the haulers to noise the most. The presented findings indicated that (i) the exposure to noise was higher than 100 dB(A), irrespective of variation in the considered factors; (ii) the trend in exposure was characterized by polynomials in relation to the extraction distance, and the magnitude of exposure was consistently affected by variation in the considered factors; and (iii) without hearing protection, the empty and loaded turns exposed workers to noise over the permissible limits. These findings strongly suggest the use of hearing protection when working in close proximity to sledge-based cable yarding operations. The methods proposed in this study in the form of simulation may help benchmark other forest operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Mechanization and Harvesting—Trends and Perspectives)
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12 pages, 1490 KiB  
Article
Measurement Time in the Evaluation of Whole-Body Vibration: The Case of Mechanized Wood Extraction with Grapple Skidder
by Roldão Carlos Andrade Lima, Luciano José Minette, Danilo Simões, Qüinny Soares Rocha, Ricardo Hideaki Miyajima, Gabriel Fratta Fritz, Stanley Schettino, Denise Ransolin Soranso, Glícia Silvania Pedroso Nascimento, Marlice Paes Leme Vieira, Bruno Leão Said Schettini and Arthur Araújo Silva
Forests 2023, 14(8), 1551; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14081551 - 28 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1145
Abstract
The grapple skidder is a self-propelled forestry machine that is used for the extraction of trees in wood harvesting—commonly used in full tree systems. Moving this machine can expose operators to occupational hazards of physical origin, among which whole body vibration stands out. [...] Read more.
The grapple skidder is a self-propelled forestry machine that is used for the extraction of trees in wood harvesting—commonly used in full tree systems. Moving this machine can expose operators to occupational hazards of physical origin, among which whole body vibration stands out. However, the measurement of this risk agent does not have a standard measurement time, being performed for periods of approximately 30 min—disregarding the time of the daily workday. In view of this, it was analyzed whether occupational exposure to whole body vibration transmitted to grapple skidder operators using different measurement times complies with the guidelines for preventative purposes. Thus, measurements of whole-body vibration were carried out along three orthogonal axes over a period of one hour and over a daily workday of eight hours—by which were measured the daily (8 h) vibration exposure for the l-axis and the vibration value. The acceleration values in the three evaluated axes were higher for the daily working day, denoting the influence of the measurement time. In addition, the vibration dose value resulted in values above the action limit for both evaluations; however, the daily workload was highlighted—indicating the presence of higher vibration peaks over a longer measurement time. Thus, the assertiveness and influence of measurement times over the daily working day for whole-body vibration transmitted to grapple skidder operators is evidenced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Mechanization and Harvesting—Trends and Perspectives)
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15 pages, 4598 KiB  
Article
Damages of Skidder and Oxen Logging to Residual Trees in Uneven-Aged Mixed Forest
by Jelena Knežević, Jusuf Musić, Velid Halilović and Admir Avdagić
Forests 2023, 14(5), 927; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14050927 - 30 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1772
Abstract
The negative influence of timber harvesting on the forest environment is reflected through damage to the residual trees, regeneration, and forest soil. Considering that skidding, a popular extraction method, can cause substantial and severe damage to the remaining stand, the aim of this [...] Read more.
The negative influence of timber harvesting on the forest environment is reflected through damage to the residual trees, regeneration, and forest soil. Considering that skidding, a popular extraction method, can cause substantial and severe damage to the remaining stand, the aim of this research was to determine damage to residual trees during skidding by an LKT 81T cable skidder, including oxen bunching. The research was conducted in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in an uneven-aged mixed fir (Abies alba Mill.) and spruce (Picea abies L.) forest with pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) on limestone soils. Tree felling was conducted using a Husqvarna 372 XP chainsaw. Extraction operations caused damage to 6.31% of the residual trees in the stand. The most damage was “removed bark” (65.34%) and occurred on the lower parts of the tree, the butt end (55.11%) and root collar (32.39%). The average size of the damage was 197.08 cm2. A statistically significant correlation was found between the damage position and the diameter at the breast height (p < 0.05) and the damage position and damage size (p < 0.01) by Spearman correlation analysis. The conducted analysis by the chi-squared test showed that there is a statistically significant difference in the proportion of damage for trees with different distances to the nearest skid road (p = 0.0487), but the share of damaged trees did not decrease by increasing the distance from the skid road. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Mechanization and Harvesting—Trends and Perspectives)
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Review

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15 pages, 5781 KiB  
Review
Recent Applications of Smart Technologies for Monitoring the Sustainability of Forest Operations
by Rachele Venanzi, Francesco Latterini, Vincenzo Civitarese and Rodolfo Picchio
Forests 2023, 14(7), 1503; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14071503 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1903
Abstract
Precision forestry is a useful technique to help forest stakeholders with proper sustainable forest management. Modern sensors and technologies, with special reference to the sustainability of forest operations, can be applied on a variety of levels, including the monitoring of forest activities regarding [...] Read more.
Precision forestry is a useful technique to help forest stakeholders with proper sustainable forest management. Modern sensors and technologies, with special reference to the sustainability of forest operations, can be applied on a variety of levels, including the monitoring of forest activities regarding the three pillars (economy, environment, and society). In this review, we summarised the current level of knowledge regarding the use of precision forestry techniques for monitoring forest operations. We concentrated on recent data from the last five years (2019–2023). We demonstrated how an Industry 4.0 strategy for remote and proximal monitoring of working performance can be effective when using CAN-bus and StanForD data collected by modern forest machines. The same information can be effectively used to create maps of soil trafficability and to evaluate the patterns of skid tracks or strip roads built as a result of forest intervention. Similar information can be gathered in the case of small-scale forestry by using GNSS-RF (Global Navigation Satellite Systems—Radio Frequency) or even monitoring systems based on smartwatches or smartphones. LiDAR and Structure for Motion (SfM) photogrammetry are both useful tools for tracking soil rutting and disturbances caused by the passage of forest machinery. SfM offers denser point clouds and a more approachable method, whereas laser scanning can be considerably faster but needs a more experienced operator and better data-processing skills. Finally, in terms of the social component of sustainability, the use of location sharing technologies is strongly advised, based for instance on GNSS—RF to monitor the security of forest workers as they operate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Mechanization and Harvesting—Trends and Perspectives)
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