Twenty-four colleagues from four countries attended the fourth EFFORTE meeting covering two days, in Scotland during May 2018. The meeting concentrated on work to date in relation to wheeling experiments and silvicultural practices for planning and support using Big Data analytics.
A look back and frames for future work
Scotland compared data and experiment protocols from other EU partners clearfell areas of forest and no thin. Those do not pose as many issues for trafficability during harvesting as there are not multiple passes on the same tracks after initial harvesting.
French use tracks every 6-10 years as Scotland uses once every 35-40 years. The harvesting systems in two countries are different: the Scottish/UK models clear-cut every 35-40 years with no thinning regime as standard potentially allowing for the ground to recover without detrimental damage long term to the ground and soil structure. However, the silviculture of this methodology is still being tested under WP3. Long term effects of soils, tree growth and management are being followed up.
Initial results from Finland, which were completed in the first work package show that rut depth may increase, but soil compaction stays the same after a number of passes and tonnage over the extraction route. Ecological modelling of areas should be able to predict rutting depth and the damage.
One of the upcoming actions aim to a better understanding of the value chain in relation to forest user’s expectations. That is being sampled through questionnaire directed at forest practitioners.
Practical work presented also
Field trips are an important part of project meetings, since they provide a possibility to see and hear about practical issues and problems with the stakeholders. On the second day of the meeting saw members of the group were looking at large scale timber harvesting on a private estate managed by James Jones and Sons Ltd, which is also a project partner in EFFORTE. Soil type and slope steepness had a major effect on the types of harvesters and traction chains/tracks used for safety and ground damage.
Since the project is going on until summer 2019, there are still two more bigger project meetings to go – in Switzerland on November 2018 and in Helsinki on June 2019. If you are interested to join as a stakeholder, please contact the project coordinator Jori Uusitalo (firstname.surname [at] luke.fi).
Text: Shaun Mochan