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Factors to consider before selecting a tree harvesting system

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For you to conduct a successful timber harvesting process, several types of equipment are required to assist you in the harvesting process. Examples of the harvesting equipment include skidders, chainsaws, feller-bunchers, tracked harvesters, wheeler harvesters, chippers and forwarders among others. The machines will be used for felling, logging and transportation of the logs from the felling site to the mill. However, before the entire harvesting process is initiated, there are several factors that you must consider to guarantee the effectiveness and completion of the harvesting process. Some of the factors include the size of the timber on the land, topology, cost of production, production potential, environment disturbance and road accessibility. By considering these factors, you will be in a better position to select the right tree harvesting system.  

I.    Quantity and size of timber

The quantity and size of the timber are important factors to consider. The total number of trees that you will harvest from the land or per acre will directly affect the harvesting cost and the total revenue from the entire harvesting process. Therefore, if the trees on a particular piece of land will have a high harvesting cost, you should consider searching for other pieces of land to harvest trees.  

II.    Production potential

Unlike other natural materials that are mined and processed over an extended period, trees are harvested as quickly as possible. The higher the daily harvesting rate of trees, the better the quality of the timber and capturing the timber market opportunities. Additionally, you should have enough logging equipment to support the harvesting process as this will increase the production potential of the land.  

III.    Environment disturbance

All harvesting activities should have the least damaging effects to the immediate environment. The harvesting process should not necessitate soil displacement and soil compaction as this will reduce the site's productivity in the long run. It is important to identify the areas where trees can be harvested and areas where the trees should not be disturbed. This reduces damage to most of the trees besides saving the other trees as a form of future investment.

IV.    Topology

Topology plays a significant part in determining the best harvesting system on a piece of land. This factor determines whether a harvesting system is both desirable and feasible. When it comes to the topology of a specific piece of land, a gentle terrain will provide better chances of conducting a successful harvest. This will enable you to use a variety of harvesting machines like crawler tractors, skidders, and cable systems. However, steeper pieces of land limit the harvesting systems that can efficiently harvest the maximum number of trees. A steeper and uneven land will also impede the number of equipment that can be used in the harvesting process.

V.    Road accessibility

It is necessary to evaluate the accessibility of roads to the harvesting site. This ensures that transporting the trees, equipment and labour will not be a problem. Bad roads increase the cost of production in the form of longer product delivery time, vehicle maintenance and repairs.