Unit 3 - Types of Forest Research

Lesson 7

Ecological Studies

 The study of ecology helps us to understand the important connections that exist in the forest ecosystem.

For example, research has determined that trees and plants in the forest actually communicate by means of an underground web of fungi.

Read the article, Mother trees use fungal systems to feed the forest, by Cori Howard, to learn about this fascinating find.


Image Source: Pexels

Harvesting Systems

The process of timber harvesting begins with the felling of trees and finishes with the trucking of logs to the mill. The tools and equipment used to harvest a forested area are known as the harvesting system.

Over the last few decades, numerous harvesting systems have replaced more primitive methods. The primary goal of research in this area is to develop safe, cost-effective, and sustainable ways to harvest trees.
Sometimes, harvested trees are "cut to length" (CTL) at the harvest site. The harvester processes the timber by delimbing it and cutting it into desired lengths.

Cut to length harvesting has the advantage of speeding up mill production. Additionally, the operator can process the tree to remove any defect in the log.


Promoting increased payloads for forestry trucking

In response to the intensifying need to increase payloads in forestry trucking operations, FPInnovations is expanding its decades-long work to promote higher payloads without compromising safety. Working with government agencies, trucking operators, and mills, FPInnovations is enabling higher, more efficient payloads by conducting rigorous research.

One avenue being pursued in this area is to implement innovative technologies to existing platforms, enhancing dynamic stability - which, in turn, allows for higher payloads. The roll-coupled trailer hitch is one such technology, which FPInnovations has been developing for several years. A three-phase testing process - in which the hitch-enabled truck is first tested in computer simulations, then in a lab, and finally on the road, with careful monitoring - is set for completion in summer 2010 in B.C. FPInnovations is also spearheading the introduction of completely new trucking configurations that are inherently more stable, such as the 9-Axle Pole B-Train, which takes advantage of the logs for roll-coupling.

In collaboration with Western government agencies, associations, fleet owners, and operators, FPInnovations has increased average payload capacity in the Western provinces by 10%, with an estimated typical fuel consumption/greenhouse gas reduction of 5% and an estimated annual cost reduction of $1,500,000. The same process that has succeeded in increasing payloads in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and B.C. is currently being applied in the East: FPInnovations is working with the Québec government to bring new configurations to the northern part of the province.

Source: FPInnovations