One of the most significant and expensive activities in forest ᴍᴀɴagement is harvesting trees. Felling, delimbing, debarking, bucking, off-road conveyance of the wood, and loading are the several processes involved in harvesting operations. The resources, machinery, and machineries that can be utilised, particularly in tropical nations, are numerous and can be made up of intricate systems. When selecting the machinery or equipment utilized in each individual process step of harvesting activities, the factors of the climate, soil characteristics, and huᴍᴀɴ resources must be taken into account. Even today, ᴍᴀɴy tropical nations struggle with a shortage of financial resources that prevents them from utilising their forests in a competitive and sustainable ᴍᴀɴner.
The following issues arise while harvesting in natural tropical forests: large-diameter trees, low volume per ha, a variety of species, lengths, and diameters; sensitive soils; which cannot be corrected by mechanical or chemical means; numerous environmental constraints; and difficult access. The amount and varieties that can be generated during harvesting activities depend on the financial position, technical proficiency, and machine accessibility.
Better-funded logging businesses are able to automate numerous harvesting procedures, which boosts production and improves workplace safety. In order to facilitate forest operations, they are able to build a network of forest roads and employ the right tools and machinery, which also enables them to harvest large, heavy logs with a high value.
On the other hand, smallholders or communities continue to rely on basic tools and equipment, animal-assisted skidding, and ᴍᴀɴual or motorized labor while harvesting wood. Generally speaking, they are subject to severe restrictions on the size of the trees that may be cut down and the logs that can be slid. Conditions are very different in plantations made out of tropical forests.
Typically, only one or two species are planted, the stands are uniform in height and diameter, the size of the trees is lower, the forest is planned and has good access, and clear-cut processes are used to harvest large amounts of wood per hectare. Due to the better and quicker economic returns in short-rotation plantations, all these usage conditions are in favor of a higher level of mechanization. Smaller properties and industrial plantation owners use specialized forestry equipment or modified farm tractors to achieve maximum output with minimal environmental impact.
It is challenging to consistently convey the technical details of the newest equipment that are now on the marketplaces due to the industry’s constant technological advancement. Chainsaws, harvesters, forwarders, skidders, feller-bunchers, loaders, and other tools should always be appraised in the appropriate country for the particular operating conditions.
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