Close to Nature Forestry and Harvesting Operations Hanns H. Höfle University of Göttingen Lower Saxony State Forest District of Bovenden
Close to nature forestry and harvesting operations • Why close to nature forestry? • What is close to nature forestry? • What are the conditions for harvesting operations in stands of close to nature forestry? • How to deal with this situation with respect to technology, productivity, safety and the environment? • Conclusions
Close to Nature Forestry: Reasons • New ideas within the forestry community • Outside forces put pressure on forestry
Close to Nature Forestry: Example Lower Saxony (1) • Site protection and site-adapted species composition • Mixed stands • Ecological compatibility • Natural regeneration • Improvement of stand structures • Harvesting of target diameter trees • Conservation of old and dead trees; protection of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna
Close to Nature Forestry: Example Lower Saxony (2) • Establishment of a network of protected forests 9. Provision of special non-wood services 10. Development and tending of forest edges 11. Forest protection following ecological aims (IPM) 12. Ecologically oriented wildlife management 13. Environmentally friendly forest technology
Close to Nature Forestry: Example Lower Saxony (3) • Long-run ecological programme for state forests in Lower Saxony (“LÖWE-Programm”) • Developed by Prof. OTTO • Agreed upon between Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Environment • First example in Germany • Taken up by other states (“Länder”) in Germany (and other countries, e.g. DK) • Mandatory for state forests • Recommendation for other forest owners
Close to Nature Forestry: Main Features • Forests are understood as ecosystems (mixed stands, site adapted species, rich and mosaic type stand structures) • Incorporates the principles of multiple use forestry • Aspects of nature conservation and biological diversity are taken into account • Disturbances should be minimised (continuous cover, minimal interventions, minimal damages to stands and soils) • Risks should be avoided
Close to Nature Forestry: Characteristics of Stands • Variation of age and size of trees • Inhomogeneous stand structure (vertically and horizontally) • Reduced visibility • Obstacles through understory, regeneration, dead timber on the ground • Regeneration in gap like structures – > smaller areas of operations, greater care in felling operations • Target diameter harvesting –> large-size trees • Large trees –> more dead branches in the crowns • Old and dead trees accumulate in the stands
Characteristics of Stands: Consequences • Harvesting = most dangerous operation in forestry; felling, in turn, most dangerous inside harvesting; falling branches, stumbling and falling down, cutting trees under tension in the wrong way • Risks are even greater now due to: • Greater tree dimensions • Impaired visibility • More obstacles in the stands and on the ground • Higher amount of dead timber • Everybody is allowed to enter the forest
How to deal with these risks? • Safety is the responsibility of the enterpreneur • Safety comes before profits • Awareness raising • Good example • Systems approach
Before an operation starts (1) • Risk analysis is obligatory (once for the standard, always for the special situation) • Refresher training for forest workers (e.g. directional felling, dealing with special cases such as leaning trees, awareness of safety) • Prescribed system of skidding lines is mandatory (decided upon, transferred to the terrain, marked in the stand) • Trees to the felled are marked + optimal felling direction + hint to risks • Hindering trees are also marked and must be felled in the first place
Before an operations starts (2) • Choice of the optimal working technique • Parameters: type of trees – amount and type of dead timber (none – in the crown – dead trees) • Standard operation • Variation for forward, sideward … leaning trees • Use of hydraulic lifter • Felling with winch support • Fully mechanised harvesting systems • Written target agreement (work order)
During an operation • Hindering trees are felled as the first ones • Dead trees might also be felled • (Dead trees – 5/ha - evenly distributed in the past; now, they are concentrated in part of a stand in order to decrease risks) • Optimal harvesting method is used (+ proper timing, high flotation tires, biodegradable oils and lubricants) + directional felling • Safety rules are obeyed (continous contact between workers, escape routes …) • Control of operation and consequences
After an operation • Damages to the soil? • Damages to the remaining trees? • Damages in the regeneration? • Safety aspects: correct felling technique, escape routes?
Productivity and Economics in Close to Nature Forestry (1) • Natural regeneration instead of planting • „Biological automation“ substitutes tending (at least partially) • Situation to start from (e.g. pure beech vs. pure spruce stands) • Tree dimension and timber quality
Productivity and Economics in Close to Nature Forestry (2) • Larger trees to be harvested vs. • More careful and more complicated operations • Smaller amount to be cut per area? (clear-cuts vs. thinnings) • Benchmark? (fully mechanised harvesting operations, terrain, wage rates, optimised supply chains …) • Non-wood services?
Safety • Successful safety campaigns (see examples in Switzerland, France, Germany …) • Safety pays Forestry is for people!!
Conclusions • Close to nature forestry is a good example of sustainable forest management • It is multiple use forestry • The economics are promising – but … • Environmentally friendly harvesting operations (Reduced Impact Logging, Codes of Good Forest Practice) • Safety by means of a systems approach • Stand conditions change: adaptive management is required in the sense of DEMING‘s „plan – do – control – act!
Thank you for your attention!