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The main objective of this study was to thoroughly document and establish data on “environmentally sound road construction recently introduced in Bhutan” as an alternative to the “traditional way of road construction by bulldozer” in mountainous terrain of Bhutan. Another objective was to provide information on “long-distance cable crane logging” which will continue to be the most commonly applied harvesting system throughout Bhutan in the near future.

Since a permanent forest road network is a prerequisite to sustainable forest practices, another aim of the case study was to demonstrate that forest engineering can serve as a tool for sustainable forest management if proper road design, construction and maintenance techniques are used.

The introduction of the advanced, environmentally sound road construction technique by excavator throughout Bhutan and modifications of the traditional clear-felling practice using cable systems, will meet the overall objective of preventing environmental problems associated with forest harvesting operations in mountainous terrain.

The case study on “Environmentally Sound Forest Infrastructure Development and Harvesting by Long-Distance Cable Systems in the Himalayan Region in Bhutan” was initiated by Rudolf Heinrich, Chief, and Joachim Lorbach, Forestry Officer, both of the Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing Branch, FAO, Rome.

In order to meet the objective of the case study, two construction sites in natural forests in the Himalayan range of Eastern Bhutan with similar formation conditions for road construction were chosen to serve as study objects. However, one long-distance cable logging study site was located in Western Bhutan. Except the latter, all study sites have been under supervision of the local forest authorities in Mongar.

The efficiency of both, the different road construction methods and the cable logging system, was investigated by work and time studies analysing the work performance of construction and logging operations.

The field studies were carried out by Norbert Winkler for FAO in close co-operation with G.M. Pradan, Forest Engineer. Forest Development Corporation (FDC), Thimphu, Bhutan in spring 1998. Norbert Winkler prepared the report.

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