Analysis of Site Stand Impacts from Thinning with a Harvester-Forwarder System


  • J. F. McNeel University of British Columbia
  • T. M. Ballard University of British Columbia


The use of a harvester-forwarder system for commercial thinning operations in a Douglas-fir plantation had little detrimental impact on the residual stand. Less than five percent of the sample trees in the residual stand exhibited damage from the thinning operation. Trails occupied less than 20 percent of the harvested area with significant portions of the developed trail, over 13 percent of the harvested area, in lightly disturbed harvester trails. Trail spacing was consistent and averaged 26 metres between trails for the area studied. Changes in bulk density were greater for harvester trails, increasing an average of 25 percent in the first 10 centimetres of soil depth. Bulk densities on forwarder trails averaged 20 percent greater than measurements on adjacent control sites for the first 10 centimetres of soil depth. These bulk density values, when compared against magnitudes from the literature, suggest that little site damage was caused by thinning operations with this system.






Technical Papers