Harvesting woodfuel products does not fundamentally differ from harvesting any other forestry products, and it is important to recognise that woodfuel is one of a number of different other product streams which often provide a better economic return. In most cases harvesting operations will combine a number of different products with different qualities, specifications and end uses, based on the available standing timber.
The main factors that will influence the choice of a given harvesting operation are:
- Other stages of the woodfuel supply chain
- Health and Safety
- Management constraints
- Choice of Felling system
- Choice of extraction system
These factors will often be inter-dependent, and you will often need to make compromises, depending on your management priorities and the machinery/contractor’s availability. You will also need to have a clear idea of how your products are going to be handled in the ongoing supply chain and how you are going to carry out the work safely.
NB Because of the focus on the small and medium scale, the scope of this guide is limited to logs and woodchips supply chain operations, with stemwood from traditional forestry operations as the main feedstock. Other types of feedstocks and fuels generally require different processes, equipment, and with a few exceptions are only economically viable at large scales. To find out more on these fuels and supply chains see the other fuel pages.