Why is cut-to-length logging CTL the main wood harvesting method in Finland and in the Nordics? What are the benefits and why should you be interested?
Brief history of cut-to-length logging
Cut-to-length method has been a main logging method in Finland and Nordics for at least 50 years. The whole-tree method did not suit perfectly to Finnish forestry because our trees are small enough for easy bucking in the forest and skidding was inflicting too much damage to standing trees in thinnings. Our smaller roads tend to be too winding and narrow for transporting whole-trees and in landings there were problems with the space. Another issue was that sawlogs and pulpwood have been largely transported into separate mills. The final blow for whole-tree method was increased cost of fuel and preference to smaller machinery partly due to the lesser impacts on soil.
Amount of mechanized wood harvesting is almost 100 % in Finland today. Manual felling is reserved mostly for enormous trees and felling sites that are too dangerous for harvesters. Some of the forest owners still want to do manual logging in their forests but the yearly amount is nowadays very low.
What are the benefits of cut-to-length logging?
Cut-to-length logging has many benefits and the historical reasons for choosing it are still valid.
Better success with thinnings
CTL makes thinnings economically and environmentally feasible. It is the best harvesting methods for thinnings because it is possible to choose the right trees to be removed without excessive damage to the standing trees.
CTL decreases soil disturbance and one can use cutting residues to increase the bearing capacity of ground. The cutting residues will be left to the forest as a fertilizer to enrich the soil. In case of clear cuttings, the cutting residues can be harvested for renewable energy, and this serves also as a prevention measure of forest fires.
No more problems with landings
The landings tend to be too narrow. The cut-to-length method is advantageous in this matter because after bucking and measuring in the forest the forwarding can be started immediately. Trucks can start long distance transportation as soon as there are enough logs in the landing to make a full load. With effective management even the smallest of landings will suffice.
Better work safety
Work safety is an issue that must always be taken seriously. Cut-to-length is statistically a very safe method for wood harvesting and serious accidents are very rare. The machinery is safe for the operators and usually there are only two people on the harvesting site at the same time. One operating the harvester and other operating the forwarder.
Increased value of wood
In cut-to-length method the bucking into assortments is optimized according to the requirements of the mills or the forest owner. The harvester measures trees and optimizes bucking automatically for the maximum value. This creates less waste and better yield for precious assortments. There can be numerous assortments in use at the same time which makes possible to harvest special assortments with small accumulation.
Efficient supply chain management
The supply chain management can be very efficient with cut-to-length method. Logs are measured in the forest and forwarded into separated piles. Production data is transferred to a forest information system almost in a real time. You have always correct information of the volumes and assortments under harvesting and on landings. The planning of transportation logistics is simpler when you know what is in the inventory and what is going to come. Harvesting operations can be directed to right site depending on the current inventory levels and demand of the mills. The transporting distance and handling times can be minimized by transporting the assortments straight to the mill from the landing. There are even possibilities to plan backhauling routes for trucks to minimize driving unloaded and cut costs.
Why should you be interested?
In conclusion there are many benefits of cut-to-length logging. Financially there can be found savings in logistical costs and decreasing the waste of valuable wood. Higher revenues can be expected because of the optimization of the bucking and increased value of wood. The mills will benefit of the flow of readily sorted logs. Environmentally cut-to-length method creates less impact on soil and decreased carbon emissions.
BCon is offering services to implement the benefits of cut-to-length method and increase your revenues. There is always a room for improvement, and we are happy to help you to develop your operations from logging to whole supply chain management.