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Commission IV: The loggers


H. ISMAIL (Malaysia)


EL KADIRI (Morocco)

H. FRØLUND (Denmark)

Secretariat note

Moderator: M. BENDZ (Sweden) Technical secretaries: H. CHAUVIN FAO)

G. PICCHI (Argentina)

The subject to be discussed by Commission IV -aspects relevant for the loggers -has been subdivided in the agenda into five separate topics. In practice, however, there is considerable interdependence between them. It would probably hamper the discussion if each item were to be dealt with in complete isolation.

The main subject of the congress: Forests and socioeconomic development, does not lend itself very well to a systematic subdivision. It was considered appropriate to regroup the different topics of the commission in accordance with the general paper prepared by Adamovich and Wellburn. "Three areas of socioeconomic development stand out where harvesting mechanization plays an important role:

the environmental
issue rural development
socioeconomic growth."

The aim of the secretariat note is to point out logging's role in the socioeconomic development of society. This implies that technical matters will form only a background to the three topics listed above.

The note deals with logging and transport of industrial wood. Aspects related to harvesting of fuelwood and wood for other household requirements are not dealt with.

1. Advances in logging

Forest harvesting is handicapped in having to produce bulky, heavy, low unit-value products. often under severe topographic or climatic conditions, far from the mills and the markets and often far from communities (Adamovich and Wellburn). In the competition for labour with other parts of the economy, forestry has, however, to pay increasing salaries. This made it necessary to rationalize forestry work, mainly through mechanization. It would seem that the steadily rising payments to forest workers are not caused primarily by increased productivity within forestry itself, but by rising productivity in other branches of the economy. From the loggers' point of view both the price of the product-logged wood-and the costs of the different production factors are established externally. This implies that the only way to make logging operations more effective is to combine the production factors in a better way.

Since labour productivity in other industries will most likely continue to rise, the obvious way to make logging operations more efficient is to mechanize them. Mechanization means a changed combination of production factors (i.e., capital versus manpower).

However, mechanization in forestry is not primarily a means to lower production costs but rather to maintain a balance vis-à-vis work output and labour costs. In some cases mechanization has been enforced by labour shortages.

At the Madrid congress it was noted that " forestry is far behind agriculture and industry in the progress from man and animal power to machine power (Sundberg, Proceedings of the sixth World Forestry Congress, Vol. 3, p. 2757). During the six years which have elapsed since then, forestry mechanization has made great progress. It is now doubtful whether forestry is any longer behind agriculture. Multiprocess machinery with several automated functions is being developed for exclusive use in forestry. In some parts of the world the degree of mechanization is increasing very rapidly.

In the developing countries mechanization is still in the single-process stage. Power saws are widely used for felling and crosscutting. Crawler tractors are used in both roadbuilding and skidding, and articulated wheel tractors have made a rapid breakthrough as skidding vehicles. Front-end loaders and track loaders are used not only at dump sites but also at landings in the forest. Mechanized equipment is employed in rafting and barging. Heavy trucks are used for hauling (Lepitre, Billeschou, Lakio).

In many developed countries mechanization is at the beginning of the era of multiprocess equipment. In Scandinavia it is estimated that the volume harvested with multiprocess equipment will increase from 3 percent in 1970 to around 40 percent in 1975. Several processors and harvesters are being developed. Forwarders and skidders have been in use for many years. The power saw is on its way out and will be replaced gradually by shearing devices (Johnston), at least in pulpwood logging. In some areas balloons or helicopters may be employed in the future for short-distance transport (Stewart). Long-distance transport will be planned and carried out in increasing cooperation with forest industry (van Heideken). Labour productivity has increased considerably and will continue to increase; estimates show that it might double over the next ten-year period. In the highly mechanized logging operations in Scandinavia this will be achieved, for instance, through the introduction of rough delimbing and stereotyped automatic crosscutting.

During the last decade several operations have been moved from the stands to central landings in many countries. Will this process continue? What are the possibilities of bringing certain operations back to the stump site or to landings in the forests?

In the process of continued mechanization, where a number of technical, economical and biological aspects are involved, the point has now been reached where " on the job" experimentation alone will no longer produce results and more formal research is required (Wellburn and Adamovich). Have the greatest benefits in mechanization already been achieved? Will it be successively more difficult to keep pace with the continued rapid rationalization within mass-producing industry? Will logging mechanization meet increased technoeconomical difficulties in the future?

Logging should not be looked upon as an isolated process in forestry. As in other complicated production systems, there is within forestry an obvious risk of suboptimation if each phase is looked upon separately. It is the influence of forestry as a whole on the national economy that has to be considered. The optimum result is not necessarily reached if loggers, in isolation from biologists, industrialists and marketing men, try to find the cheapest way to log wood. This simple fact-often overlooked-is clearly demonstrated by examples in the field of transport planning. It is shown (van Heideken) that by changing the means of transport from river to land, with higher costs, the total economic relation between forestry and industry improves. By working in isolation loggers could provoke serious negative effects on other activities. The trend for the development of large industrial complexes has increased, as well as the need for coordinated planning and research involving the whole forest community from the site to the market (Wellburn and Adamovich). Are the traditional boundaries to the concept of logging obsolete? We talk today of logging versus silviculture.

Would it be better to think in terms of treatment versus transport?

In world forestry there are indications that the raw material resources might gradually become a bottleneck. This would lead to a new situation, particularly for loggers. We have, during the last decade, had to live and work under conditions where technical knowledge and mechanical equipment were very often the limiting resources. And we find-particularly in industrialized countries-that the interest is gradually shifting toward bioecological criteria related to the yield of raw material. In this new situation loggers will have to concentrate their efforts not only on the technical and economical aspects of forestry such as increased efficiency, reduced wood damage and reduced waste, they will also have to develop new methods better fitted to the demands of raw-material production. Is it likely that these new methods will require less roads than the present system? Roads permanently remove - in certain types of forestry-much land from timber production (Stewart). Will new techniques be based on helicopters, balloons, pipelines or skylines? Methods will also have to be developed for mechanized thinnings and cleanings that do not damage the remaining stand (root and stem damage or soil compaction). Will the loggers have to take part in exercises aiming at the mechanization of silvicultural treatments? Great efforts are already being taken to mechanize reforestation, and new systems for mechanized thinnings and cleanings are being developed (Bredberg, Johnston, Ievin).

Rationalization and mechanization must and will continue. A steadily growing number of forest workers will use mechanical equipment in their daily work. This equipment will often be highly complex and the work will be carried out under unfavourable conditions. It will be necessary to intensify efforts in the fields of ergonomics and the prevention of accidents (Apud). Today forest work has a bad reputation due to its numerous accidents. The risks created by heavy physical strain are now gradually changing to risks caused by an uncomfortable work environment.

A great task awaits loggers in the immediate future. Conservatism will be an obstacle to success, but new ways will have to be found. It is vital that research and development be given support; much will be achieved through cooperation in planning and in practice. We cannot afford to duplicate errors. International cooperation in this field will pay off rapidly.


(a) Is there an unquestioning belief in full mechanization?
(b) Does full mechanization take place irrespective of the possibilities of streamlining the present methods?
(c) Which are the best ways of establishing priorities in research and development?
(d) Who shall set such priorities?
(e) What measures will be taken to implement results produced by research and development?
(f) Will forestry be able to adapt its products to new demands from industry?

2. Socioeconomic growth

The effects of forestry-or logging-on socioeconomic growth might be divided into three main groups. The first represents the effects of logging as an economic undertaking on the national economy. The second involves the training of forest workers. The third concerns the worker and his relationship with work, employer and trade union.


Logging is often considered an important economic activity for the following reasons:

the employment of rural labour otherwise unemployed or underemployed;
the creation of infrastructure in underdeveloped areas;
the activating of nonemployed forest resources;
the general support given by the logging industry to other economic activities;
the creation or transfer of know-how which might &your other branches of forestry.

"Higher productivity, increased efficiency and reduced production costs characterize forest harvesting mechanization. The rate of change differs somewhat in different countries but the trends are uniform and well pronounced... To attempt to forecast developments in harvesting mechanization, we divided the globe's forests into four regions although the boundaries are sometimes overlapping" (Adamovich and Wellburn). The following is an abstract of this discussion:

Region A. (Most of Europe, the United States except Alaska, southern Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia.) This region has forests usually managed for multipurpose use.

Full mechanization is under way. No dramatic changes can be expected in the near future except possibly in plantation harvesting and thinning mechanization.

Region B. (America south of the United States except areas with tropical rain forests, parts of Africa, parts of southeast Asia, India and China.) This region covers managed forest or plantations in developing countries.

Logging machinery is mostly imported. Full mechanization would create further unemployment and would use up foreign exchange. Partial mechanization should be encouraged.

Region C. (Areas with tropical virgin forests in Latin America and Africa, the Pacific islands of southeast Asia.) This region has, by and large, untapped forest resources, low per caput income, and native populations not fully receptive to forest development.

Exploitation is based on imported equipment and sometimes also on imported workers. Improvement of working and living conditions, health, safety, income and education should become the object of development. Creating intensively managed plantations might provide a better socioeconomic climate than expanding operations too soon over vast virgin areas.

Region D. (Northern Europe, Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada.) This area has large forests and a society reaching affluence. The region is covered by temperate forests used exclusively for timber production.

This is the region where tree harvesters might work effectively. Full-tree logging, integrated with central landings, year-round operations and shift work will be common. In this area the new techniques and equipment will be developed.

The results of logging as an economic undertaking depend on the operational efficiency of the operations. Efficiency is reached through rationalization of the different phases of work. The present tendency in rationalization work all over the world involves:

improved planning of operations;
new and more effective equipment;
improved training of personnel at all levels.

New and adequate planning methods and tools are being developed today, particularly in industrialized countries. These methods and tools affect both the short-term allocation of available operational resources and the long-term coordination between biological production and logging.

New equipment is successively developed and put to use in all branches of forestry. Mechanization is not only for loggers; machines are also employed today in reforestation and silviculture. -In order to permit a more rapid development of new equipment, foresters must define the present and future needs.

Training of personnel is considered to be increasingly important in order to cope with the complex equipment and planning tools and to adjust the rapidly developing logging methods to society's needs.


(a) Is maximum productivity the criterion for an optimum degree of mechanization?
(b) Which are the elements in more complex criteria, other than the economic one?
(c) Do too sophisticated planning methods and tools eliminate the slack in the production system?
(d) How should we act practically to define needs and contraints related to desired equipment?
(e) Can mechanization have a positive influence on the value of logged wood?


The significance that forestry may have in relation to socioeconomic development depends to a large extent on what is done or not done in the field of education.

Vocational training is not a matter of importance to forestry alone, nor can it be looked upon as divorced from other education; it concerns society as a whole (Mårsäter) .

It is often pointed out that the training of foremen and supervisors is as important as vocational training (Del Valle Martínez).

The incentives for improved and effective training are many:

improved working methods;
better utilization of machinery and wood;
increased productivity and thus increased earnings;
improved safety and health conditions;
higher social status for workers.

Are education and training the essential means for social change? Since forest work is heavy and dangerous, education and training will be necessary from the human viewpoint.

Today most forest workers have not received any form of training at all. As long as untrained workers are counted in tens and hundreds of thousands there is no immediate need for detailed calculation and planning of training needs. The main question is to get the training programmes started (Mårsäter).

However, in the long run, inputs in vocational training must be based on manpower planning.

A very complicated problem is how to get the workers from production to training. What are the incentives? Who will pay? Concessionaires and contractors generally operate short-range policies and seldom have interest in worker-training. Are limited concession areas or limited concession periods and high labour turnover the reasons for this?

Is it likely that the state, as an employer and forest owner, and bigger private enterprises will take the long view of this problem?

To what extent can organized education be replaced by on-the-job training?

The need for training will increase in the same proportion as the changes that are brought into forestry.

Since most parts of the world will-during the next decade-confront very rapid changes in the form of new methods, new equipment and new demands on productivity, there is a considerable need for training. The safety aspect and the adjustment of the work to the worker will be areas of interest (Apud). There will be a need, also, to exert a positive influence on the worker's social status through training.

The planning, formulation of objectives, implementation and evaluation of training will benefit from cooperation among all concerned (employers, workers, teachers, planners and society) (Mårsäter).


(a) Is training a means of changing negative attitudes toward low-status forestry work?
(b) How do we create interest on the part of the authorities for forestry training programmes?
(c) What changes in forest policies are necessary to switch workers from production to training?
(d) Shall training be evaluated from society's or from private enterprise's point of view?


The transfer of knowledge from the developed to the developing world has been concentrated on technology. Foreign companies, aid-giving agencies, equipment manufacturers, technical experts and the developing countries themselves have all pressed in the same direction -toward mechanization-but due consideration has not been given to the social aspects of mechanization (Sandahl). A result of this pressure is that in many developing parts of the world mechanization of logging operations has been introduced very rapidly. In some cases there has been an overnight jump from pure manual work to full mechanization. There are, however, no proper investigations, related to the impact on society, as to when, where and to what extent mechanization should be introduced in forestry in developing countries (Sandahl).

Some consequences of mechanization have. particular interest in this context:

1. The influence on the number of job possibilities because of the reduced need for manual work.

2. The influence on rural life. Forestry has always been interrelated with other activities in rural life. Seasonal work in forestry will decrease when mechanization comes in. Reduced use of animals or agricultural tractors for skidding lowers the possibilities for common use of equipment.

3. Wage differences. Machine operators often have considerably higher wages than "general labour."

In highly mechanized logging operations in west Africa it was found that " unskilled labour" represented about 50 percent of the total labour force (Lepitre). This would imply the division into two groups of low-paid and high-paid labour, causing problems of a social and a psychological nature- especially when foreigners are involved. In industrialized countries the differences in salaries between different categories of labour are not so distinct. There is, in fact, a tendency in industrialized countries that physically-taxing jobs will be better paid than others. Will this be true also for the developing countries and when?

4. Work environment. Through mechanization, working conditions and the working environment will change considerably. This has relevance for:

ergonomics (Apud);
medical problems (Apud, Botwin, Bailey),
accidents (Sandahl, International Co-operation Committee of the Trade Unions of Forestry Workers);
attitudes and motivation (Sandahl);
stand structure (Bredberg);
size of stands and cut-overs (Bredberg, Brunet).

A good working environment is as important as high productivity from many points of view. This is a fact to be considered by foresters in all kinds of economies. It is particularly necessary that this aspect be considered when methods and equipment from industrialized countries are transferred to developing countries, often with completely different working conditions.

5. Need for trade unions? The need for education and training increases when the operations are mechanized (Mårsäter). Sandahl). It is a widespread observation that neither local authorities nor contractors or concessionaires fully recognize these needs. at least not in developing countries. Some reasons for this may be that forest labour has a low social status and that forest services in developing countries are too weak in relation to their governments (Sandahl). Another common obstacle to improved education is the use of contractors and concessionaires for logging and transport operations. One cannot expect short-term business to pay interest to long-run aspects such as the education of workers.


(a) Will the creation of trade unions (or the strengthening of the already existing ones) favour only the labour force?

(b) Will governments or concessionaires take the responsibility for improved work environment in the developing countries?

(c) Are wage differences incentives or obstacles to improved labour conditions?

(d) Is "stamping-gut" of forest workers an unavoidable consequence of increased mechanization?

3. Rural development

Forestry has been considered a key element in the process of aiding the developing world. This is due to the fact that forestry can employ means of production that are already available to a great extent within the country itself, such as the forest itself and labour. Since there are both forests and labour in rural areas, forestry is particularly suitable as a base for rural development.

There is no doubt of the importance of forestry in this respect. Through forestry the infrastructure will be developed (Lepitre), employment will be offered rural labour, and products from forest industries will positively affect the balance of payments.

Although rural workers might be available in great numbers they are often poorly distributed. from the forestry point of view. The forest areas are often sparsely populated. Certain forestry operations have been moved from the forests to the mill sites or to central landings in order to meet this situation. What are the possibilities of moving operations back again, thus ensuring jobs in rural areas?


During the exploitation stage, as in many tropical forests today, the loggers are the first to penetrate unsettled areas. This is done through the construction of forest roads and/or the construction of logging camps (Lepitre, Papillon). In both cases the result will be that work is organized for the first time. Access roads are normally built to carry heavy loads and they are often so well constructed that they will eventually be permanently used for other purposes. Branch roads are, from the standpoint of accessibility and infrastructure, normally without interest in this respect. Logging camps are constructed in the tropics for an average duration of 7 to 15 years. After being used for such a period the camps are often moved to new sites. They do not generally represent the first lasting settlement although -after the construction of roads and logging camps- the newly opened area is often rapidly occupied by rural workers.

Other results of logging in unsettled areas might be the construction of harbours and airstrips and - in the case of bigger companies-the erection of schools, workshops and health centres.

Logging often goes together with the establishment of primary forest industries. It has been argued that the multiplying effect on employment is large in forestry compared with many other industries.

What happens with the employment possibilities after the first exploitation of virgin forests? Experiences from industrialized countries show that during the opening up of the forests there was an exploitation of both labour and timber resources which had severe consequences. What possibilities are there to avoid such consequences-impoverished forests and ambulatory workers --in the areas of exploitation today?

When, after the first exploitation stage, the logged-over areas are converted to sustained-yield forests, the effects of logging on the infrastructure diminish. The roadnet is successively improved and maintained, workers live in small settlements in the forest and commute between their living quarters and work sites. Forestry is still important because it forms the marginal base for settlements in rural areas. With increased productivity, the working crew becomes smaller and-in a vicious circle - the smaller settlements gradually disappear. This is a serious problem in many parts of the world. Therefore, in several countries there is again increasing need to build logging camps, since the commuting distance from the ever fewer permanent settlements is becoming too time-consuming. How do we solve the serious social problems connected with logging camps? They seldom permit normal family life. Can improved communications, such as air transport of personnel, solve this problem?


The main part of all forestry activities, and thus of employment possibilities, is harvesting. This is particularly evident during the exploitation phase and is of consequence today in tropical high forest. In some countries, for instance, logging is the only activity in forestry worth mentioning. In those parts of the world where forestry is managed with the aim of sustained yield, logging still. accounts for the greater part of the total employment.

Thus, logging is important for the creation of job possibilities. There are, however, a number of problems or conditions that have to be observed (Lepitre, Adamovich and Wellburn, Del Valle Martínez):

climatic and terrain conditions often hamper full-year employment;
many logging operations-particularly those based in logging camps-have a limited duration; logging entreprises cannot always offer safety, good social conditions or competitive salaries.

To overcome these drawbacks will it be necessary that logging operations-particularly in the developing parts of the world-be better organized and in larger units? Can this be achieved if governments run their own logging operations? Will government-organized operations create know-how and a more appropriate formulation and implementation of the government forest policy?

Logging operations will, in the future still more than at present, involve the rural population. The reason is that forests close to population centres will be used for the fulfilment of social needs rather than for wood production. Large logging operations will seldom take place in the vicinity of population centres. It seems likely, also, that urbanization in developed societies will eventually level off and this will have implications for the future trends of logging in congested areas (Adamovich and Wellburn).

Mechanization and increased productivity have rapidly reduced the number of workers employed in logging. As a result of this, forestry's role in creating jobs in rural areas is gradually diminishing. There are conflicting goals when, on the one hand, as many jobs as possible should be created and, on the other, salaries must be increased in order to attract workers. Salaries of forest workers should be fixed on at least the same scale as similar industries (International Co-operation Committee of the Trade Unions of Forestry Workers).

The optimum level of mechanization - and thus logging's job-creating ability-depends upon a number of conditions. (For a detailed discussion of this question see the Proceedings of the 6th World Forestry Congress.) It is necessary when deciding on the choice of equipment for a certain operation to pay attention not only to techno-economical data, but also to aspects concerning social safety, job possibilities and the like. In areas where labour is readily available a fleet of single-purpose machines is perhaps better than complex machines, socially, technically and economically, because the breakdown of one unit does not stop production (Adamovich and Wellburn). Other reasons are that such a fleet will permit the employment of more workers and that the possibility of adaptation between man and machine increases. On the other hand it has been argued that increased motivation to work shall be achieved when multiprocess equipment is used. In single process work the worker will find his task monotonous and standardized. By overseeing and managing a longer part of a production process the worker will find the job more meaningful. To find the optimum level of mechanization is a very important and difficult issue. If an unsuitable level is chosen there might be serious consequences with long-lasting effects.


Forestry is said to have, generally, a positive impact on the national economy and on the balance of payments. This is not an aspect that has relevance only for loggers.

The net effect of logging on the national balance of payments depends to a great extent on the origin of the resources consumed in the logging and transport process. When such resources are imported the positive effects on the balance of payments will decrease. Since logging equipment is mostly imported (the equipment is manufactured only in a few countries) a high degree of mechanization generally means that the impact of logging on the national balance of payments is lowered. Is the importance of log exports on the national economy exaggerated?


(a) How can desired social goals be reached through controlled technical development?
(b) What are the possibilities of finding instruments to establish the " optimum degree of mechanization?"
(c) What measures can be taken to increase the loggers' interest in long-term problems?
(d) Shall domestic production of logging equipment be facilitated?

4. The environmental issue

The growing concern with the human environment and man's rediscovery of nature's beauty have brought forestry suddenly into sharp focus and harvesting is no longer an internal issue (Adamovich and Wellburn). This situation is a result of suboptimizing. Has the logger, in seeking to serve his own self-interests, acted at the expense of society at large?

What are the possiblities of foreseeing similar future conflicts? To reduce the impact of today's technology on the environment as well as on man, operators and supervisors must be made aware of their potential to cause damage. Even the best planned operation can become an ecological or visual disaster in the hands of a poorly trained or disinterested machine operator (Adamovich and Wellburn).

It is at the harvesting phase that forestry comes into outspoken conflict with other parts of the society. Harvesting, and particularly clear cuts, normally mean a sudden change in the forest ecosystem, an ecosystem that for the general public has the connotation of stability and permanence. Harvesting means roads in formerly virgin forest, noise and pollution, unsightly logging sites, erosion, changed water balance, changed flora and fauna, etc. All these modifications are considered negative or dangerous by certain groups of the public.

It is known also that logging-or at least clear cuts-will be followed in many countries by man-made monocultures over large areas with wide spacing. These conditions again are considered negative by the public. In many parts of the world loggers are today considered destructive enemies of the forests and of the interests of the general public.

There are a number of sectors where loggers or forest engineers are accused of maltreating nature:

destruction of nature's beauty;
changing the local climate;
changing the water balance;
changing flora and fauna, or upsetting the ecological equilibrium generally;
the opening up of virgin areas that will, as a consequence, be ruined in some respect;
erosion caused by logging machinery or by the construction of roads;
reduced road safety caused by the frequent use of heavy long-distance lorries;
pollution of air and water;
oil spill from logging machinery;
larger clearcutting and regeneration areas as a result of mechanization;
increased insect and pest hazard;
fewer cleanings and thinnings (which means that a higher proportion of the total volume harvested is taken in clear cuts);
damage to standing trees;
compaction of forest soils;
increased forest fertilization (since for instance, in full-tree methods, branches, leaves and needles are removed);
increased fire hazard.

The above list might act as a deterrent. However, there are several ways of looking at things. Increased fire hazard is a negative aspect, but one can argue that because of the roadnet, constructed as a part of the logging operations, there are better possibilities of fighting forest fires.

In addition, mechanized logging operations are young. generally, less than 15 years old. It is likely that much of the equipment suffers from " diseases of childhood." On the other hand, the present trends seem to indicate that for most of the negative environmental effects the conflict will probably sharpen. Can one expect still wider spacing in the regenerations? Will there be no thinnings at all in the future? Will it be possible to harvest only big trees in future clear cuts (which would mean reduced cutting volumes per unit area and reduced quality)?

Most of the items in the above list are relevant in both developed and developing parts of the world although the environmental conflict is more acute in the industrialized countries. One particularly serious problem in tropical forestry is the erosion caused by the construction of roads in steep terrain. Road systems cause much more damage by erosion and siltation than the harvesting operation itself (Stewart).

The development described in earlier paragraphs must be given serious consideration. Even if much of the criticism is adverse and often based on lack of knowledge there is no doubt that mechanized forest operations in their present forte very often imply serious hazards to the environment. The cornerstone for optimum environmental policy is considered to be integrated forest management (Adamovich and Wellburn). This means that forest management must be integrated and planned in cooperation, not only among the different specialists within forestry but also with other interested groups.

Parallel to improved planning and integrated management loggers will also have to develop new techniques and new attitudes. New techniques will be needed for a general adaptation of technology to bioecological demands, i.e. light equipment with high manoeuvrability for thinnings and partial cuttings. These methods will have increasing importance as public demands for recreation and scenic beauty rise (Adamovich and Well-burn). Techniques will be needed for the mechanized harvesting of small trees and small logging areas at reasonable costs. Such techniques might employ both cutting and hauling of more than one tree at a time (Bredberg). There will be a growing need for equipment constructed for specific situations or purposes. Generally, the new equipment must be developed with the aim of reducing damage. It is reported from Japan that there are already traces of a new trend in that direction (Mishina).

Silviculture is an essential means for foresters to create the environment they desire (Brunet). Without thinnings or cleanings forests would, after some decades, be impossible to penetrate. It will also be necessary to cut small-sized wood in the future.

Without proper thinnings the forest will be of less value both for social use and for rational harvesting of wood.

Is it necessary, in the process of mechanization of forestry operations. to reduce the interrelation between productivity and tree size, on the one hand, and productivity and work area on the other? Is it necessary that future development in mechanization be based on new concepts?

New attitudes must include above all a desire to understand the real motives of all those criticizing the loggers. Of course it is not so that we are right and they are completely wrong. We also need a changed attitude toward research. The research and development specialist is a necessary link, probably the most important one, in our efforts for improved results. The rate of progress within logging or mechanized forestry will be affected by the intensity of contacts between loggers, researchers and equipment manufacturers.


(a) What are the possibilities of reducing harmful effects on the environment caused by mechanized logging?
(b) What are the needs for research in this field?
(c) Is the present conflict caused by foresters or by the public?
(d) Will new logging methods or logging concepts reduce environmental hazards?
(e) Must mechanization mean standardized measures for large areas?

Commission IV papers


Adamovich, L. & Wellburn, C.W.

Socio-economic aspects of mechanized logging

Apud, E.

La ergonomía del trabajo forestal

Bredberg, C.J.

Logging and silviculture

Lepitre, C.P.

Les operations d'exploitation en forêts tropicales africaines

Mårsäter. B.

Training of forest workers

Mishina, J.

The relation of cutting work to afforestation and its effects on forest conservation

Stewart, F.H.

Reducing adverse environment impact through improved harvesting methods


Bailey, A.

Suppressing noise, sparks, vibration and fumes in chain saws

Bailey, A.

Chain saw noise and vibration related to safety in logging

Billeschou, A.E. & Stainburn.

Logging and road density in Caribbean pine plantations in Jamaica. Economic considerations

Botwin, M.

Problem of vibration in portable petrol-driven power saws

Brunet, R.

Quelques contraintes de l'exploitation forestière

Del Valle Martínez, E.

El impacto de las operaciones de desembosque en ambiente humano y sus interrelaciones con los tratamientos silvícolas

Heideken, F. von

Changeover from floating to all-over land haulage: modernization of the timber transport system in mid Sweden

Levin, I.

New techniques and technology in forest clear cutting

International Co-operation Committee of the Trade Unions of Forestry Workers.

Le travailleur forestier

Johnston, J.S.

Developments in tree shearing

Lakio, LA.

Etapa actual de la mecanización de los aprovechamientos forestales en América Latina

Newnham, R.M.

Simulation models as an aid to the design, development and innovation of logging machinery

Papillon, J.

Playas intermedias de acopio para productos forestales en Misiones (Argentina)

Sandahl, L.

The forest worker and mechanization problems, rights and possibilities

Wellburn, C.W. & Adamovich. L.

Trends in logging in central British Columbia


Advances in logging

1. The commission recognized that logging constitutes but one of a set of activities within forestry and the forest industries, all of which must be carried out in harmony. The aims of logging and transport operations must be considered in conjunction with those of other forestry operations and with forestry as a whole. Goals should not be established for logging as an isolated activity, but rather as a part of the general objectives of forestry.

2. Mechanization of logging must continue for successively increased labour productivity in forestry. Today the possibility to mechanize in an effective way depends to a great extent on the scale of the operations. The criteria guiding mechanization shall. however, not be formulated in terms of labour productivity, profitability and costs only; ecological and social criteria are equally essential.

3. Changes in cost structure caused by the progress of mechanization in developed countries have led to increasingly extensive silvicultural practices. It is for many reasons desirable to avoid a continuance of this trend. Therefore, due emphasis should be placed on the development of mechanized logging systems that would permit more intensive silviculture and selective treatment of forests. including harvesting of small trees and wood removal from small logging areas.

4. The collection, exchange and dissemination of information is a very important part of the development of forest operations and techniques, and obviously an expensive task in terms of human and monetary resources. This process is not possible unless qualified expertise and adequate funding can be obtained.

Socioeconomic growth

5. The most rapid and effective means to ensure a harmonious social development of the forest worker is through vocational training. Only an adequate vocational training is able to guarantee technical and economic success as well as social development. Vocational training would seem to be primarily the responsibility of governments, whatever the means of financing such training.

6. Since forest workers to begin with often show little interest in being trained, the training should be supported through a motivation process. showing the short-and long-term advantages for the workers. Stimulating pay systems may be one way of motivation, but ease of work and increased safety are often the best initial arguments.

7. In order to ensure, in forestry education, an appropriate link between forestry training on the one side and forest-industrial training on the other, logging must be given its right place in forestry curricula. Proper education within the field of logging is necessary at both university and technical levels, and should be given a place corresponding to its present economic importance.

8. It seems necessary that adequate measures be taken to estimate manpower requirements in forestry work both in the long run and in the short run. Such labour planning ought to be provided in each country to ensure recruitment and suitable training programmes and to reduce labour turnover.

9. Recent developments of machines for logging, transport and other forest operations have reduced heavy physical work for man, but in many cases have placed increased mental stress on the operator, particularly when he lacks proper education, thus bringing into forestry new problems concerning the mutual adaptation of man and machine. In all stages of development of mechanized equipment, work should be guided by considerations of ergonomics, motivation and job satisfaction.

10. The managerial and operational structures for the utilization of forest and forest lands are different in different countries. They are not always adapted to prevailing conditions. More often than not, they reflect divergent stages of progress and development. Countries should concern themselves with the extent to which the structures of planning, control and execution of logging operations comply with desired objectives. In some cases structures may have to be modified.

11. Authorities in the different countries should endeavour to keep in close touch with logging operations, both in order to facilitate governmental policy-making and to ensure appropriate measures of assistance and control. One possible way of achieving this is by the forest services themselves undertaking a measure of direct experience in logging and wood transport. Governments should find means to protect long-term forestry production interests against short-term exploitation.

12. There has been a rapid increase in labour productivity in the industrialized countries but the trend in this respect in many of the developing areas has been modest or stagnant. In order to prevent the gap from widening further, there should be a massive strengthening of technical assistance aimed at improving competence in logging and other fields of forest operations and techniques. Both the International Labour Organisation and trade unions recognize with FAO the need for rational management of forests in order to protect the environment and provide continued work under acceptable conditions of life. Technical advances in working methods, if properly applied, will be welcomed.

Rural development

13. Technical developments have made it possible to exploit timber that had been inaccessible or too big and heavy for manual handling. This has resulted in the introduction of logging operations in many developing parts of the world; such operations have created work opportunities and have contributed to rural development and socioeconomic growth.

14. When introducing new mechanized techniques, it is necessary to pay attention to their influence on the work process, the salaries, the professional ability, the probability of accidents and the social and cultural condition of forest workers. One of the means of taking care of the interests of the workers is the creation and development of organizations of forest workers.

15. The maximum advantage of mechanization in forestry can only be achieved by adapting techniques to local conditions. Local research and experiments are essential to improve the design, use and maintenance of logging equipment. There will be undesirable economic and social effects if the level of mechanization is either too high or too low.

16. Exodus and unemployment may cost society more than can be gained through mechanization; an improvement of the methods and tools already in use may represent not only the smallest capital requirement, but also the optimal total solution.

17. For many areas with tropical rain forests, it may be advisable temporarily to concentrate logging activities as far as possible so as to encourage intensified utilization, thereby reducing waste and prolonging the availability of species currently in demand, and at the same time minimizing the problems of land use and development. It seems doubtful whether logging is desirable in some areas where, for one reason or another, it does not appear practicable to control subsequent use of the land, once such areas have been opened up by logging roads.

The environmental issue

18. Logging represents the stage in forestry operations in which wood is converted into marketable products and is thus a decisive factor of economic success in forestry. The methods employed in the primary production of wood have a considerable influence on logging efficiency. Logging aspects should therefore be considered in silvicultural work. On the other hand, it is important that loggers consider industrial aspects, as methods of logging often affect the wood utilization process.

19. It is at the harvesting phase that forestry sometimes comes to its most outspoken conflict with society on environmental issues. The very rapid mechanization in forestry has undoubtedly entailed mistakes and exaggerations that in certain cases have created environmental harm. Great efforts are now being made to overcome such " teething troubles." There is, however, no reason to believe that environmental harm can best be avoided by refraining from the use of modern technology. The real issue is to adapt such technology to the conditions and necessities of the different working environments.

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