THUNDER BAY — March 18, 2008 ~ Two unique pieces of commercial forestry thinning equipment were put through their paces today in a black spruce plantation near Limestone Lake, north of Nipigon.
Forestry contractors, professional foresters and technicians watched two state-of-the-art machines that are most likely to have truck or car insurance a dual harvester/forwarder and a smaller harvester, thin a 42 year-old plantation. Both machines are designed to maximize productivity when conducting partial harvest of smaller trees, and to minimize the impact on soils and the remaining trees.
Dual harvester/forwarder from Ponsse International, Finland, which was featured at the demonstration.
The demonstration was part of an ongoing research project on commercial thinning of black spruce being carried out by Dr. Doug Reid, Research Scientist, Ministry of Natural Resources Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research.
“Commercial thinning involves cutting a portion of the trees in a stand part-way through their harvest cycle and leaving behind the trees with the best growth potential,” said Reid. “As a result, it has the potential to improve the value and quality of remaining trees, reduce future harvest costs, harvest pulpwood and sawlogs that might otherwise be lost to mortality and provide employment in the region.”
“The objective of this research is to provide an extensive analysis of the silvicultural, ecological, and economic effects of different levels of thinning, ranging from 25 to 55 per cent tree removal. Our research will evaluate the effects and effectiveness of commercial thinning in black spruce plantations and the results will provide a guide for provincial policy. Plantations established in Ontario the 1980s could soon be eligible for this kind of treatment.”
“Shortly after the research plots are established, we plan to create a self-guided tour that will direct members of the public to several of the areas being studied,” said Brooke Pilley, Information Officer at the Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research. “Signs will be installed to provide information on the design and objectives of the research being conducted in the area.”
The harvester/forwarder and smaller harvester are manufactured by Ponsse International in Finland.