Improving hardwood bucking techniques in cut-to-length harvesting operations in Acadian forests of New Brunswick
Keywords:bucking techniques, Acadian Forest, cut-to-length system
One of the most complex working steps during harvesting operations is bucking. It is particularly demanding in trees with complex architecture, which is often the case with hardwoods. As bucking is crucial for generating products and highly influences the value yield, astute bucking decisions are essential to reach an efficient use of the wood resource, while ensuring profitable operations. To make informed decisions, a comprehensive knowledge of factors influencing product recovery of hardwoods is mandatory.
Therefore, a characterization of Acadian forests in New Brunswick has been done based on tree inventories made between 2012 and 2021. More than 250,000 trees were analyzed for this purpose. Variables considered were tree species, DBH, tree height, form and risk classes as well as different plot-related variables, a stand density index or whether the plot was dominated by hardwoods or softwoods. The characterization was based on ANOVAs and multinomial logistic regressions. In a second characterization step, attributes influencing product recovery were analyzed for tree, plot, and site attributes. These analyses were done using factor analysis of mixed data (FAMD).
Having characterized the Acadian forests of New Brunswick and knowing which factors drive the product recovery in hardwoods, an evaluation of actual bucking performed in the province was conducted. Pre-harvest inventories were linked to tree-dependent product measurements performed after harvest in order to evaluate the product basket.
First results of the bucking evaluation will be presented to formulate enhanced bucking solutions, based on an increase of monetary value at the tree level, while maintaining a satisfactory harvesting productivity. The evaluation of bucking is conducted through the reconstruction of stems and the use of a bucking optimizer.