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Case studies on environmentally sound harvesting operations form part of a series of initiatives undertaken by the Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing Branch of FAO to promote environmentally sound forest harvesting and engineering practices to serve the unquestionable continuing need to refine harvesting systems and techniques so that they become fully compatible with the objectives of sustainable forest management contributing to the economic, ecological and social aims of sustainable development.

This study, initiated by FAO, meets the need to document and establish data on environmentally friendly forest engineering practices. The marked superiority of sophisticated construction equipment and advanced techniques in forest road construction should encourage the adoption of such practices to provide access to the forests by roads in mountainous and difficult terrain.

The results of this study give the opportunity to compare the efficiency and the environmental impacts of "environmentally sound road construction" in semi-natural forests of the Alps as an alternative to the "traditional road construction methods" generally used in Austria in the past. Although a case study is just a snapshot of reality, it is hoped that this will contribute to raise interest in introducing environmentally friendly forest engineering practices not only in mountainous terrain but also in areas where sensitive forest ecosystems are to be accessed.

The Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing Branch wishes to express its gratitude to the Federal Forest Service of Salzburg, Austria, for their kind support.

This case study was made possible through a special contribution by the Austrian Government for the FAO programme on environmentally sound forest harvesting.

Rudolf Heinrich


Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing

Forest Products Division

Forestry Department, FAO

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