Productivity assessment of timber harvesting techniques for supporting sustainable forest management of secondary Atlantic Forests in southern Brazil

Pedro Caldas Britto , Dirk Jaeger, Stephan Hoffmann, Renato Cesar Gonçalves Robert, Alfredo Celso Fantini, Alexander C. Vibrans

Pedro Caldas Britto
Department of Forest Work Science and Engineering, University of Göttingen, Germany. Email:
Dirk Jaeger
Department of Forest Work Science and Engineering, University of Göttingen, Germany
Stephan Hoffmann
Department of Forest Work Science and Engineering, University of Göttingen, Germany
Renato Cesar Gonçalves Robert
Forestry & Wood Science Center, Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Brazil
Alfredo Celso Fantini
Laboratory of Ecology and Management of Forest Ecosystems, Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil
Alexander C. Vibrans
Department of Forest Engineering. University of Blumenau, Brazil

Online First: November 27, 2017
Britto, P., Jaeger, D., Hoffmann, S., Robert, R., Fantini, A., Vibrans, A. 2017. Productivity assessment of timber harvesting techniques for supporting sustainable forest management of secondary Atlantic Forests in southern Brazil. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2017.898

The Atlantic Forest in southern Brazil has been subject to overexploitation in the past prompting the formulation of a rigorous conservation orientated policy by the government including a strict ban of timber harvesting. In the region, the forestland is owned by farmers. The economic value of the forest is rather limited for those farmers, because of the prohibition of commercial timber harvesting as a source of income. Sustainable forest management systems can offer great potential as new income opportunities for land holders, and further actively support the process of ecosystem rehabilitation and protection for these ecosystems. Yet, successful implementation of such sustainable management systems requires feasible and adapted timber harvesting systems. In order to develop such harvesting systems, a regional comparative case study was conducted at a typical smallholder forestry venture with the objective to analyze and evaluate harvesting methods supporting sustainable management of the Atlantic Forest. This study assessed production rates and associated costs of a common conventional timber harvesting method (CM) and a proposed alternative method (AM). CM was performed by a selected, typical forest landowner who had only basic training in chainsaw operations, but 20 years of experience at the wood yard of his small sawmill. In contrast, the AM employed a professional chainsaw operator from the Amazon forest, trained and experienced in reduced impact logging techniques using state of the art equipment, supplemented by a snatch block and a skidding cone for improved extraction. Time study based models identified tree volume, winching distance and skidding distance to the landing as the most significant independent variables affecting productivity. Total net productivity ranged from 4.9 m³ PMH0-1 for CM to 3.1 m³ PMH0-1 for AM. Corresponding gross-productivity ranged from 3.0 m³ SMH-1 to 1.9 m³ SMH-1 with an overall mean utilization rate of 60.8 % and 60.9 %, respectively for CM and AM. Associated harvesting costs ranged from 12.05 € m-3 to 20.94 € m-3 with an estimated annual production of 4000 m³ and 2700 m³, respectively. Although AM showed overall lower productivity and higher costs, it represented an important improvement in terms of occupational health and safety. In conclusion, a suitable harvesting system should integrate local experiences of CM and proposed technical improvements of AM.

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