Publications on integrated management of forestry operations

Publications about integrated management issues relevant across a wide range of forest operations with recommendations and best practice guidance.

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Show/hideAgri-forest tractors
Forestry Commission Project Report 25

Choosing the appropriate scale of machinery for forest operations is a significant factor in achieving management objectives. While large scale, purpose-built machinery (Ireland 2008) usually gives the highest outputs and ergonomic benefits to operators there are still significant benefits of agri-forest tractors at the appropriate operational scale. Agri-forest tractors are machines modified or purpose-built for forestry with high versatility for a wide range of work activities.

This report describes the range of attributes of agri-forest tractors and ancillary equipment and their suitability and safety requirements for forestry work. All tractors must have safety features appropriate to the tasks undertaken, to protect the operator from roll over, falling and penetrating objects. Information on tractor safety in forestry is available and comprehensive, however, guidance is not currently conveniently gathered in one place. This report itemises safety standards that tractor operators and forestry works managers should be familiar with.

Contact: Duncan Ireland

DownloadBurning forest residues (PDF-1180K)
Technical Note 4
Show/hideDirect support to GB FC, industry and countries 2008-2009
Forestry Commission Project Report 1

In 2008/09 Technical Development (TD) received a total of 290 enquiries, with 40% on forest management subjects, 24% on harvesting and 36% on woodfuel. These percentage splits between subjects are similar to 07/08 and compared to 07/08 TD have dealt with an 8% increase in enquiries. Most enquiries were answered by email and phone but some requests for information were supported by seminars and field visits.

Most enquiries (59%) were from outside the Forestry Commission (FC) while FC staff accounted for 41% of enquiries with a 32% increase in FC staff using TD’s query service. By country, 43% of enquiries were from England, 36% were from Scotland, 16% were from Wales, 1% from Northern Ireland and 4% from other countries.

Contact: Duncan Ireland

Show/hideDirect support 09/10
Forestry Commission Project Report 20

Technical Development (TD) received a total of 277 enquiries, with 36% on forest management subjects, 35% on harvesting and 29% on woodfuel. These percentage splits between subjects when compared to 08/09 show a similar position for establishment with a decrease for woodfuel enquiries and an increase for harvesting enquiries and these latter two subjects will be related to some extent. Compared to 08/09, enquiry numbers have decreased by 4%, this year close to an average year for the number of queries received.

Non Forestry Commission (FC) staff accounted for 57% of enquiries and FC staff accounted for 43% of enquiries with a slight increase in FC staff using TD’s query service.

Contact: Duncan Ireland

Show/hideForest operations in steep terrain - Evaluation of Silvatec Sleipner 8266 TH purpose-built 8-wheeled harvester
Forestry Commission Project Report 22

A Silvatec Sleipner TH8266 8 wheeled harvester fitted with a Silvatec 560 harvester head was evaluated working on a conifer thinning operation in Ewinhope plantation, Dumfries and Borders Forest District.

The Silvatec Sleipner 8266TH was a well constructed machine with adequate power and ergonomics to harvest timber on the trial site. This machine is fit for purpose especially when considering felling operations on sloping ground.

The tilting cab improved operator ergonomics when working on slopes because a level working position can be maintained on slopes up to 55%. The BOSS, (Bogie Optimisation Stabilising System) hydraulic ram actuated system helped to maintain stability and traction when harvesting and moving on site. The machine was observed harvesting on slopes up to 47% and travelled on slopes up to 53% and no problems with stability were noted.

Show/hideForest operations in steep terrain - Evaluation of Tigercat LH845C tracked tilting base harvester
Forestry Commission Project Report 21

A Tigercat LH845C tracked base harvester fitted with a Logmax 6000 harvester head was evaluated on a conifer clearfell operation in Ardross, Dingwall. The operator had 20 years of experience in mechanised harvesting.

The studied Tigercat has been a reliable machine (3000 hours use) with adequate power and responsive ergonomic control systems. Operator access was good for cab entry and machine maintenance. Visibility from the cab was less than optimum but still judged to be fit for purpose. The machine appeared to be of strong rugged construction.

Harvesting was seen on slopes of up to 57% and the machine travelled a slope of 61% to 67%, all travel taking place up and down the hill with no diagonal working. The harvester head with a large saw could fell buttressed trees and 92% of sawlog products were cut within tolerance.

Standard outputs of 7.56 m3/hour (0.27 m3 tree size, level ground) and 14.66 m3/hour (0.65 m3 tree size, sloping ground) were recorded in a Sitka spruce crop. A machine cost of £75/hour gives felling costs of £9.92/m3 and £5.11/m3. The study data suggest conversion losses of over 30% for each study, when comparing whole tree and end product volumes. Technical Development measured whole tree volumes using inventory plots and end product using length and top diameter.

Show/hideForest operations on steep terrain (FOST) – Ground preparation and brash mat treatment
Forestry Commission Project Report 50

The results of this evaluation indicate that operations using a tilting base tracked excavator for ground preparation and brash mat mulching can be carried out on steep terrain.

The availability of a brash mat for the machine to travel on is important, this trial has indicated that a well produced and maintained route enabled the machine to travel over the site on slopes up to 55%. The brash also assisted traction and stability when the machine negotiated a side slope. On routes where the ground was less steep, 30–40%, the machine was able to move with limited brash however manoeuvring and traction were compromised with the tracks sliding through the shallow brash mat into the soil level.

The machine did not perform well without brash or on a side slope; it was difficult to control and steer and only wanted to move in a straight line. The 32 tonne weight of the machine was a major factor affecting its manoeuvrability.

Ground preparation using hinge mounding produced mound densities of between 2766 and 2930 mounds per hectare. Outputs from the operation were 0.081 ha/shr. The costs were £957/ha.

The FECON BullHog BH80 mulcher was tested on a selection of brash mat types.

Assessment of the treated area on a thick, dense and compacted brash mat indicated that it had not been fully penetrated or mulched, low lying material close to the ground was not mulched, and branches and woody debris formed a barrier to the planting position. The output from this treatment was 0.008ha/shr and a cost of £1834/ha.

Show/hideMachine scale
Forestry Commission Project Report 15

The following approach has been used to describe machinery scale:

  • Large, purpose-built machinery which can be further sub divided into thinnings, all rounder and clearfell. Clearfell will include steep ground and large timber conditions.
  • Medium, agricultural tractor based equipment, could also include smaller excavator based harvesters.
  • Small, niche market purpose built or compact tractor, ATC/ATV based equipment.

Technical specifications have been given for some machine types used in forestry.

Assumed costings have been used to show a range of expected outputs and their relative effect on working costs.

Informed comment has been made on large, medium and small machinery characteristics.

Stimulating small woodland and small programme working is a major challenge and Forestry Commission publication 'A Woodfuel Strategy For England' states “The target is to bring an additional 2 million tonnes (Mt) to the market, annually, by 2020, representing 50% of the estimated unharvested available material in English woodlands”. More work is being carried out on available timber resource and this estimate maybe refined.

Objectives for woodland management should be related to available systems and machinery and where possible, compromise considered, so that realistic solutions can be found to actively manage woodlands.

This approach may also require a range of stakeholders to consider compromise and collaboration, to improve the take up of active woodland management.

Contact: Duncan Ireland

DownloadNoise hazards in forestry operations and selection of personal protective equipment (PDF-450K)
Technical Note 7
DownloadPlanning and managing pesticide stores (PDF-1109K)
Technical Note 14
DownloadRespiratory protective equipment (PDF-892K)
Technical Note 6
Show/hideServicing support 10/11
Forestry Commission Project Report 54

Technical Development (TD) delivered servicing support by responding to enquiries, but also by carrying out short jobs at the behest of countries or Forest Districts (FD) to look into a specific operational issue.

In total 237 enquiries were received with about one third relating to forest management, one third to harvesting and one third to woodfuel. This confirms that TD is well identified as a source of information by the Forestry Commission (FC) as well as the wider forest industry (approximately one third of enquiries originating from the FC and two thirds from outside the FC.

Thirteen short jobs were also carried out in response to specific requests at the local or national level.

Contact: Duncan Ireland

Show/hideWild boar trapping
Forestry Commission Project Report 37

Wild boar have been increasing in number within the Forest of Dean in the last decade, the population stemming from escapes and releases in the area. The annual agreed cull has increased from 30 to 150 within the last three years as a response. Whilst shooting is an important culling method, trapping is seen to have the potential to also deliver additional significant results. This report investigates district trapping needs in relation to boar behaviour, trap portability and vulnerability to vandalism.

The 2 trap types currently used, cage and corral traps, are discussed with regard to design of trap doors, trigger mechanisms, release doors and panel construction. Trap component weights are also investigated and found to range between 20 and 44 kg, with total trap weight for cage and corral traps being 120+ kg and 448+ kg respectively. Trap design was found be satisfactory but could benefit from design improvement derived from North American experience. Ranger and animal safety would be benefitted by the fitting of release doors or altering trap-door type. The use of sectional traps should also increase portability and so improve deployment, help reduce vandalism and provide better trapping outcomes.

Current operational guidance was found to require update and consolidation, based on existing field experience.

Contact Duncan Ireland.

What's of interest

  • Technical Note
    Summary results from extensive trials or publication related to smaller project.
  • Forestry Commission Project Report
    Summaries are given on this page. Depending on the status or the reports, additional information may be made available on request to the contact name shown against the respective summary.

These publications are produced by Technical Development.

Some (mainly older) publications are not available online. If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact or phone 0300 067 6935.