The work package on trafficability (WP1) aims to establish a basis and to develop methodologies to predict trafficability of given forest stands or perennial skid trails prior to forest operations in the most common sensitive situations.

To this end, we need to evaluate the soil compaction risk of forest operations by considering soil type and conditions, machinery properties, forest stand and climate. The work package will produce recommendations to the forest industry, based on predictions of soil deformation of forest operations under given soil conditions, as well as estimations of soil recovery potential under given climate and forest stand. The methods used consist of both mechanical stress induced by forest vehicles and the soil’s ability to resist machinery-induced stresses, which is largely governed by soil moisture.

Photo: Jos Helmich
Photo: Jos Helmich

The main objective is to answer three seemingly simple questions:

  • In a given situation, considering the soil characteristics, the known moisture content and the nature of the mechanized operation, can the forester allow the machine(s) to circulate in the stand without severely impairing soil functions including forest production?
  • If logging must be postponed due to unsuitable soil conditions, when will it be possible to operate again, depending on the soil, climate and forest stand, and the forest machines necessary for the operation?
  • If the soil or the skid trails have been damaged, what can be foreseen on their long-term utilization including their capacity to support forest production?

The work in EFFORTE will be based on results from empirical trials already carried out in the collaborating countries and new trials to be carried out in this project in Finland (boreal region, new test sites to be placed on moraine soils that have been neglected in the previous projects although they are very common in Finland), France (temperate region, research will focus on silt and clay-dominated soils most prone to compaction and rutting and which represent the larger part of the forest area where most valuable hardwood resource grows) and Scotland.

Additionally, data will be collected during various forest operations – illustrating diverse business as usual interventions from EFFORTE’s industrial partners – and used for the development and testing of the recommended methods and models.

In order to compare results of the existing and new trials as well as data collected in different countries, a common protocol will be developed and experimental design and measurements will be harmonized. Common understanding will be the basis for the creation of a collective database to be used throughout WP1’s entire work program.

Lead partner: FCBA

Other partners: Luke, Metsägroup, SKOGFORSK, Metsäteho Oy, UPM, STORA ENSO OYJ, WBF, FBE, ONF, SEFE, CBB, Woodilee, James Jones