Exploring the use of harvesters in large-diameter hardwood-dominated stands

Eric R. Labelle, Lorenz Breinig, Ekaterina Sycheva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The use of fully-mechanized operations, normally targeted at coniferous species, has also been on the rise in mixed-species and continuous-cover forests comprised of a strong share of deciduous species. With special form characteristics (complex crowns, large-diameter branches, forks and sweeps, high wood density, etc.), deciduous trees can lead to wide-ranging harvesting productivities, often divergent from those originally derived from coniferous species. Due to the importance and growing interest in mechanizing operations in close-to-nature mixedwood and deciduous stands, obtaining insight on harvesting productivity in large-diameter deciduous trees was of interest. This study located in Bavaria, Germany, monitored four harvesters (two wheeled and two tracked machines) operated in four distinct harvest blocks (case studies), all of which had a high percentage of large-diameter European beech and oak trees. Harvesting productivity and volume recovery was assessed and quantified. Based on the field inventory of European beech and oak trees and continuous time-and-motion study, average harvesting productivity ranged from 29 to 43 m3/PMH0 (productive machine hours without delay), whereas volume recovery fluctuated between 73% and 85% for trees that were completely felled and processed by machines. Because of the rather limited sample size and the variable conditions between case studies, results should only be used as general orientation on the performance of the tested machines and additional research is suggested to further understand the influence of tree form characteristics on impediments to mechanized processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number424
Issue number7
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2018


  • Deciduous species
  • Harvesting productivity
  • Mechanized operations
  • Processing
  • Time-and-motion study
  • Volume recovery
  • Wheeled and tracked harvesters
  • Work technique


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