Overcoming the Challenges of Logging on Steep Slopes in BC and Around the Globe

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Steep harvesting

BC’s geography and topography, coupled with logging limitations now in place, leave much of the desirable and available stumpage growing on steep and rugged terrain, which in turn makes harvesting safely and efficiently even the more challenging.

In 2017, FPInnvoation’s Steep Slope Initiative research described the evolution of steep slope harvesting in Canada and the associated challenges that such a process would bring. Five years later, that research remains ongoing.

Winch-assist technology is one suggested technique. Compared to hand-felling and cable extraction methods, safety has been by the far the biggest winner of winch-assisted implementation. Winch-assist is well-established and implemented worldwide with units in Canada, Central Europe (Austria and Germany), New Zealand, South America (Brazil and Chile), and the US. The process can be utilized for all harvesting phases with felling and bunching (for subsequent yarder extraction) being the most common use.

Multiple best management practice documents have been developed and are freely available: general, harvester-specific, forwarder-specific, wire rope handling and inspection guide for machine operators, learning and training resources, and inspection checklist for employers.

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