This study is one in a series of case studies being un-dertaken by the FAO Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch as part of its efforts to promote environmentally sound and sustainable forest practices in both natural and plantation forests. The main objective of these case studies is to document successful operations which have the potential to improve forest utilization, reduce wood waste in the forests, and minimize environmental impacts associated with harvesting operations.
This report documents a study on the use of construction crane for wood extraction in mountainous terrain in Austria, providing information on the advantages and limitations of this type of low impact harvesting system.
The aim of this study is to draw attention to forest harvesting specialists in countries where an abundance of building cranes exist which could be favourably employed for forest operations in areas with good road development standards and where special silvicultural prescriptions have to be applied such as those safeguarding advanced forest regeneration and extracting single tree stems in selective cuts from old growth forests. The study proposed that extracting tree length stems or whole trees proved technically feasible with little or no damage to the younger trees of the remaining stand as well as to the soil.
The use of building cranes in wood harvesting in hilly to steep terrain offers a further means of extracting wood in an environmentally sound manner in order to promote sustainable forest practice and management.
The study also provides indicative figures on productivity and costs, along with suggestions for possible use in combination with wood processors.
On the back cover page of this publication is a list of case studies which have been published to date in the series of FAO Forest Harvesting Case Studies.
We would like to thank the staff of the Department of Forest Engineering of the University of Agriculture, Vienna, for their research in this innovative type of forest operation which could be applied in numerous countries with underutilized machinery in the building industry; such machinery could be put to good use in forest operations.
FAO Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch