A harvesting method better for the soil

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Published 3 July 2018
Stora Enso has introduced a method in which precise pre-planning and applied harvesting reduce the risk of damages to the soil, with a focus on wet areas. The method is suitable for both final felling and thinning.
The wet and mild winter of 2017-2018 in Scandinavia was challenging for the forest industry, making the method, named "Rätt Metod" (Right method) in Swedish, very useful - both in Finland and Sweden.

“Basically, our method is about making thorough pre-studies of the ground to find the most durable spots within a harvesting area where the wood can be transported without damaging the soil and water streams. In the future, global warming will increase the need for harvesting on soft ground,” says Vegard Haanaes, Development Manager at Wood Supply Sweden.

Traditionally, forest operations have focused on optimising the harvester whilst with Rätt Metod, the co-operation between the harvester and the forwarder is thought to optimise the entire chain.

Maximising productivity in a sustainable way

By using Rätt Metod, harvesting planners can find the most durable spots for the main logging roads; usually they are located a little higher up where the ground has better carrying capacity. These identified tracks are then carefully covered with branches on which the forwarder can drive fully loaded. When wet areas and water streams need to be crossed, a temporary bridge can be built from wood.

“The goal is for the forwarder to be driven as little as possible in the harvesting area, and as much as possible with a load on the main logging road. The harvester has an important role because it should not only perform efficient harvesting but also place the wood piles so that they can be easily reached by the forwarder. In this way, we maximise productivity along the chain in a sustainable way,” explains Antti Suvinen, Head of Harvesting Operations in Wood Supply Finland.

Harvesting tracks from above
An example of harvesting tracks identified by Stora Enso's Wood Supply Sweden using Rätt Metod.

Careful planning benefits people and the environment

Thorough pre-planning of logging roads using Rätt Metod both spares the soil and reduces the fuel consumption of forwarders by about 10%, according to studies made by Stora Enso’s wood supply organisation in Sweden. Thanks to Rätt Metod, many damper places that would otherwise be unharvestable when the ground is unfrozen can be harvested with careful planning. Benefits also include cleaner timber and an approximately 10% greater yield of forest chips.

In addition, careful pre-planning has considerably reduced the stress levels of forest machinery drivers as well as improved work ergonomics. Depending on the type of forest, the driver experiences 20-30% less vibration. More time is spent planning using Rätt Metod, but the method has no impact on the overall speed of harvesting.

Stora Enso is now introducing the method in its Finnish wood supply and is training its experts to plan harvesting according Rätt Metod. We are also instructing contractors to introduce and utilise the method.

Workers at Imatra Mill