Mechanical equipment development

The project did much research involving forestry machinery, combining the introduction of advanced machines with the improvement and development of current equipment.

the project bought about US$ 2 million of various items of forestry machinery and equipment adapted to sandy lands. The local forestry bureaus associated with the Project improved their equipment, and this helped to improve forestry production, scientific research, management and mechanized afforestation. To ensure efficient use of the improved equipment, special attention was given to facilities for maintenance and repair at all project sites. All sites set up workshops and stores equipped with lathes, milling machines and drilling machines to handle systematic maintenance and repair of project equipment.

Medium-depth planter

In close cooperation with international and national consultants and experts from Beijing Forestry University and Harbin Forestry Research Institute, the project developed a medium-depth planter (MDP) based on an imported single-shank soil ripper. The MDP can plant 800 to 1 000 trees (as rootless saplings) per hour, at a cost of ¥ 0.06/tree for ditch planting holes and ¥ 0.56/tree for drill planting (costs include machinery and labour) (costs given as per year 2002). The machine can drill as deep as 70 to 80 cm, providing an excellent survival rate. The MDP, a fast planting machine, has three advantages: it is a cost effective way of tree planting and is suitable for poor areas; water in seedling stems is not lost during transportation; and with this technique it is easier to contain soil moisture and ensure a high survival rate. In parallel, a seedling production mantra has been developed: annual cutting, perennial stump and one stem with more knots. Planting using the MDP resulted in greatly improved survival rates with much lower afforestation costs.

Mechanized auger planter

Earth augers were imported by the project for afforestation experiments. In Naiman Branch, trials were started in December 1992. Results showed that when the planting depth is 1.4 m, resulting height and diameter at breast height (DBH) were the best, and at best were 1.3 times that obtained with traditional techniques. When the planting depth was 1.3 m, the survival rate of poplar clone P. x simonigra "Baicheng-41" was almost 100%, with over 2 cm of annual increment. From a number of experiments, it was concluded that the planting depth should be varied to match different site conditions and watertable levels.

In Korqin Sandy Lands, the best planting depth was found at 1.7 m, using 1- to 2-year old cuttings collected from 2- to 8-year-old seedlings. In Korqin, the deep drilling planting technique demonstrated many advantages over traditional planting, and its advantages were more evident in continuous drought years.

In Zhangwu, Liaoning Province, trials with this technique started in 1999 and the survival rate of seedlings in a drought year reached 85%. The deep drilling planting technique was widely applied and extended to all project sites.

Other items of equipment

A 4-share plough, improved from a 3-share plough, allowed a wider plough range and greatly increased working efficiency. A single-tooth MDP, semi-mechanized (manual feed and planting of cuttings), was developed based on a simple ripper, with two prototypes developed by the project.

A side-mounted auger showed to be faster and more efficient than imported trailed augers. With this auger, afforestation costs were significantly reduced.

A tractor-drawn 3-share plough was manufactured as an attachment to some equipment.

A stump puller solved the problem of post-logging land preparation and greatly increased working efficiency.


Extracted from
FAO. 2002. Technical project review document. Rome.
last updated:  Monday, October 17, 2005