Chapter 6 Landing operations

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What they are
Guiding principles
Potential consequences of improper landing operations
Recommended practices

What they are

Landings are collection areas to which logs are delivered during the extraction process. At the landing, these logs may be sorted, possibly stored temporarily in log decks, and then assembled for transport to the processing facility or other final destination.

Guiding principles

Landings are busy, noisy places, with one or more large machines often in motion and several chainsaws working to trim uneven logs or remove limbs that were missed by the cutting crew. They can tee muddy, dusty and littered with debris, and may include decks of logs that have been stacked several metres high. In short, they are places of potentially high risk and must be regarded as such. Proper planning and layout can help reduce the risks and ensure that operations proceed efficiently and safely.

Landings are also potential sources of water pollutants and soil sediments. They are relatively large areas of bare soil that may have been surfaced with rock or gravel. Because they represent the interface between extraction and transport, landings are the site to which fuel and spare parts are normally delivered. Fuel spills and oil contamination are potential hazards, therefore, and must be guarded against.


Well-designed, properly constructed and efficiently operated landings should: ensure the safety and protection of personnel and equipment working on the landing or nearby;
- minimize the total cost of landing construction and maintenance;
- minimize the size of the landing and the amount of earthwork required during construction;
- protect streams and groundwater from sediments or pollutants;
- transfer to the transport system all logs delivered to the landing, without significant loss of volume or deterioration in quality.

Potential consequences of improper landing operations

Consequences of improper landing operations may include:
- a poor safety record with high insurance or compensation costs;
- high construction, maintenance or operating costs;
- sedimentation or pollution of nearby streams or groundwater;
- loss of log volume or value.

Recommended practices

- The location and design of landings should be done during harvest planning, at the same time as the roads are being located and designed.

Knuckle-boom loader

Self-loading truck

Front-end loader

- In cases where landings are not needed at all, logs can be decked temporarily at the roadside and loaded on to trucks from there. This reduces costs and the inevitable soil erosion associated with large areas of cleared soil. The use of knuckle-boom loaders or self-loading trucks can facilitate roadside landings as they require less space for manœuvring than do front-end loaders.

Front-end loader placing a large tropical hardwood log on to a truck in preparation for transport. Landings such as this one are major points of activity and must therefore be properly planned and constructed. Safety should also be of paramount importance. In this photograph, two people without helmets or other safety gear are standing in an exposed position. Also, the front-end loader has only a shade canopy rather than a full roll-over protection structure.

- Where possible, landings should be located on slightly sloping ground. A gradient of about 2 percent (1°) is often recommended. The best sites for landings are open areas away from streams. The landings should be well drained, with drainage channels emptying into surrounding vegetation and not directly into streams. They normally should be at least 30 m from any running stream or farther if in steep terrain. Ditches and culverts should be provided on the uphill sides of landings, especially where skid trails enter, to prevent runoff water from accumulating on the landing during rainy periods.

- Landings should be as small as possible, taking into account the need to unhook logs from extraction equipment, sort and store them temporarily and provide for the loading of trucks or other means of transport. Between 500 and 1000 mē is often suggested as a reasonable size for many situations when large logs are being handled. Smaller logs and less mechanized extraction systems require less landing space.

- Helicopters and highly mechanized logging systems will typically require larger landings in order to ensure the safety of landing personnel and to prevent the landing from "plugging up" and disrupting extraction operations.

- Within the landing, specific areas should be clearly designated for various pieces of equipment and types of activity. For safety reasons, access to the landing should be limited to personnel whose presence is essential to the operation.

- Measures should be taken to avoid spillage of fuel and lubricants during refuelling or repair and maintenance work. Refuelling areas should be dyked to prevent pollutants from entering streams or groundwater.

A simple winching system that can be used for loading logs on to trucks: pulley; support cable; log-loading tongs; lifting cable attached to a powered winch.

- When landing operations are to continue after dark, it is essential that adequate lighting systems be installed to ensure safety.

- Periodic dust control is required during dry periods for almost all landings, even in very wet climates. Usually a watering truck is adequate for this. In very dusty areas, personnel should be provided with dust masks, and air filters on motorized equipment must be changed frequently.

- Loaded trucks should be checked prior to departure to ensure that binders are securely fastened, that the load is well positioned on the vehicle and that tyres and brakes are in good condition.

- Landings should be rehabilitated after use. This includes disposing of slash and debris, ripping the soil, if necessary, and establishing vegetation.

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