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Techniques and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - TECH4EFFECT (Techniques and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-06-30

The forest sector is striving continuously and systematically for higher efficiency in production while meeting society’s expectations on environmental performance. TECH4EFFECT addresses these challenges in enabling the sector to achieve greater wood mobilization with reduced costs and lower environmental impacts. TECH4EFFECT solutions will give the sector concrete possibilities for efficiency gains in incremental machine improvements within the digital revolution.
The project aims at increasing access to wood resources through more efficient silviculture and a better understanding of the business models governing the procurement of forest operations services. The project further considers increasing efficiency in forest harvesting and collection, and the reduction of soil impact from forest operations, and puts forward ways of making this a measurable and integrated part of operational efficiency. TECH4EFFECT ambition is to revolutionize forest operations with a state-of-the-art knowledge-based efficiency development system, providing easily accessible decision support exploiting the large amount of data available in modern industrial forest management.
In order to provide the structure against which efficiency gains in European forest management will be evaluated, TECH4EFFECT focus during this period has been on the successful set up and sustained implementation of the Efficiency Portal. This has involved developing the architecture for securely hosting centralised data, as well as the installation of devices and the ongoing testing of data flows from these machines, to the server and back to the national focal points. In this period, WP5 in close dialogue with WP7, acquired and systematized some of the key performance indicators arising from WP2, WP3 and WP4. The first, aiming at increasing the availability of resources, the second facilitating improved harvesting and transport practices, and the third showing innovative ways of minimising and quantifying environmental damage that could be anticipated from increased pressure to improve overall technical performance.
At a more hands-on level, WP2 developed an overview of key silvicultural systems by ecoregion in Europe. Studies have been done on the mechanisation of coppice harvesting systems, while case studies have been set up in preparation of a longer term evaluation of efficiency improvements relating to site establishment and tending.
In WP3, a road classification and monitoring approach was agreed on for implementation amongst selected case study countries. A protocol for the monitoring of road bearing capacity has also been developed and implemented in the spring of 2018. A bucking app was developed to assist chainsaw operators in making the correct economic decision when cutting trees to logs, and at the same time, potentially offering a method for linking chainsaw operational data with the Efficiency Portal.
In WP4, initial testing of the benefits of a 10-wheeled forwarder against a conventional 8-wheel machine was done. Methods for the use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based imagery were developed in alleviating the vast amount of fieldwork needed in assessing the condition of a site after harvesting.
WP5 conducted a mapping of forest operations systems in order to be able to prioritise and adapt the benchmarking system accordingly. A set of key performance indicators was developed and will be used in initiating the benchmarking algorithm. ‘Green box’ devices were installed in forest machines in most participating countries as well as in countries outside of the consortium, and data flow to the central database is being tested and continually improved.
WP6 has led the process of identifying and implementing national Efficiency Portals. Initial business plans have been developed in laying out potential modes of operation both within and beyond the project lifetime for all 6 countries initially planned to host an Efficiency Portal.
WP7 has constructed a set of primary value chains for all participating countries and continue to interact with WPs 2, 3 & 4 in ensuring that the contribution and impacts of each of the elements described in these chains is sufficiently modular to be easily incorporated into the overall analysis.
Finally, WP8 has developed a full communication and dissemination package including the project website ( YouTube channel and Twitter (@Tech4effect) presence. Moreover, a data management plan was developed in ensuring an appropriate, secure and structured use of data generated in the project.
TECH4EFFECT is defining a new efficiency frontier for the sector as a whole through the Efficiency Portal. To the best of our knowledge, no such tool serving detailed efficiency data to different hierarchical units and in different geographic areas existed and implementing this tool with a set of robust Key Performance Indicators related to operations, environmental impact and economic performance defines the new industry gold standard knowledge management tool in the European forest sector. Through environmentally aware and improved relocation activities of forest machinery TECH4EFFECT provides forest operators with the know-how to make improvements in performance indicators of their forestry machinery and improves access to forest resources (i.e. access routes/maps, soil erosion, environment damage etc.). Additionally, the project contributes to making their workplace safer through exchanging information on machine operator’s performance, giving guidance on how to improve their wellbeing, how to mitigate for strain in the work place.