Dr. Janaki R.R. Alavalapati, Dean
School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
3301 Forestry and Wildlife Building
602 Duncan Drive
Auburn, Alabama 36849-3418
Ph.D. Seminar: Marissa Jo. Daniel, Maj. Prof, Dr. Tom Gallagher
Title: A New Era for Forest Operations in the Southeastern Region of the United States
Location: 3315 Dixon Conference Room
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Forest operations in the southeastern region of the United States has remained relatively unchanged since the inception of conventional mechanized equipment. As new technologies are developed, new operational techniques emerge that have the potential to replace today’s standard practices. While many of these practices have been studied elsewhere around the world, few have been researched for their applicability in the southeast.
Three separate studies were conducted. The first, used both a modeling tool as well as a field study to analyze altering establishment spacing, harvesting frequency, and harvesting machines to determine if an increase in sawtimber volumes were seen from these changes. Results depicted a minimum increase of 15 green tons per acre for sawtimber using one or more of the above mentioned techniques for the modeling tool. The field study demonstrated an additional 10 green tons per acre of biomass material could be harvested by altering establishment spacing.
The second assessed the prospective production and cost increases of using tracked processors either in the woods in conjunction with conventional harvesting equipment or on a centralized logging depot where one processor would merchandize multiple logger’s trees. The study also compared the difference in an experienced operator versus an inexperienced operator. Results showed that at the end of the machines depreciated life, year 5, a logger could expect to pay $1.93 per green ton to own and operate the processor. At the end of year 10, the actual life of the machine, they would expect to pay $1.75 per green ton. An overall gain in productivity was realized in both operators, with the experienced operator producing 14 additional green tons per productive machine hour.
The final study evaluated the differences in total stem value when merchandizing with a tracked processor versus a knuckle-boom loader. Results determined when diameter and total lengths were visually estimated, a significant difference in total value occurred, however once these two variables were adjusted to match the tracked processors more accurate measurements, no difference in value was seen even though there was still a difference in how the wood was merchandized.