Small diameter wood utilization with innovative stand management for multifunctional forests and a growing sustainable bio-economy
Trees from Small Diameter Stands (SDS) are a large underutilized forest resource in most European countries, with a strong potential in contributing to building up a sustainable forest based bio-economy.
The most common management of SDS is to date dominated by pre-commercial thinning, which primarily creates cost but no income because the felled trees are left on the ground. The main reason behind why the SDS potential in Europe is largely unexploited is the low harvesting productivity and high operating costs, together with a low current market price for small diameter wood. Even though there are some commercial products designed for multi-tree harvesting of small trees, as well as combined harvesting and chipping of small trees on the market, research clearly shows that there is a strong need for a development of these techniques, as well as for the associated work methods and procurement systems, in order to provide a feasible production chain. If more efficient harvesting techniques and systems could be developed, the potential SDS volume to harvest would lie in the range of 20-30 million m3 per year only in Sweden and Finland.



Countries involved

Sweden, Finland, Spain, Slovenia


from 2019 till 2022

Financing program

ERA-Net Cofund

Thematic research area

Innovative sustainable management of multifunctional forests

Overal objective

to develop and evaluate new technologies, business and operational models that can support a sustainable management and utilization of different types of small diameter wood.

Target groups

forest owners, forest contractors, Forest practitioners, general public
Overall objective
To develop and evaluate new technologies and new business and operational models that can support a sustainable management and utilization of different types of small diameter wood.
The hypothesis are that Small Diameter Stand (SDS) management and the studied techniques have an interesting innovation potential in terms of economy, social acceptance, sustainability, SME business opportunities and rural development especially if identified bottlenecks are solved.
The project focuses on four stand types
  1. Conventional thinning stands with small diameter trees.
  2. Traditional coppice stands.
  3. Areas for forest fire prevention with small trees or bushes.
  4. Linear cleaning areas like roadsides, power line corridors and strips just outside agricultural farm land.
Project long-term objectives are
  • Improve the techniques and work methods up to the level where a profitable business can be built on SDS management and utilization.
  • Develop strategies for SDS management that is sustainable, with a positive environmental profile, and long-term added values for a number of actors in the society.
Two types of technologies will be studied and further developed:
  1. Multi-tree harvesting technique combined with the working method “Boom corridor Thinning”
  2. Combined harvesting and chipping technique

Project structure with SDS types and WPs

Project management and monitoring
Conventional thinning stands
Coppice stands
Fire prevention bushe areas
Linear areas
Harvesting and supply systems for innovative and sustainable management of multifunctional SDS.
Socio economic aspects of the SDS managements
Environmental assessment of the SDS managements
Overall analyses of the economic, social and environmental values of the SDS managements
Communication and project transnational outreach


26. November 2019

Smallwood presentation on the ForestValue Kick-Off Seminar

The ForestValue Research Programme Kick-Off Seminar was held at the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki on 23rd and 24th of May 2019. The seminar brought together around 70 participants from all around Europe to learn about the 17 projects selected for funding under the 1st Joint Call of the ForestValue Research Programme and to […]

8. November 2019

Demonstration of boom corridor thinning with Bracke C16 head

Joensuu, 31th October 2019 The demonstration was done about 60 km north of Joensuu in North Karelia, Finland. It was done in two young dense stands with heights between 8-10 and 12-15 meters, and large amounts of biomass per ha.

14. October 2019

Demonstration workshop in Bräcke (Sweden)

Demonstration of technology and methods for effective biomass harvesting in young dense first thinning stands October 3rd 2019, Bräcke, Jämtland, Sweden

WP 1 / Project management and monitoring

WP1 will be responsible for coordination and quality control of the project as well as periodic reporting and the final international conference (cooperation with WP6)

WP 2 / Harvesting and supply systems for innovative and sustainable management of multifunctional SDS.

The research methods in WP2 encompass field time studies of HEI1 and HEI2, of which HEI1 will be studied in all four countries and HEI2 will only be studied in Spain. Studies in Sweden and Finland will be done in SDS1, in Spain in SDS2 and SDS3 and in Slovenia in SDS1 and SDS4. All field studies will include a reference alternative, meaning a conventional technique and working method at present used to handle the different types of SDS stands. Traditional system analyses will also be performed in WP2, based on the field study results and data from literature.

WP 3 / Socio economic aspects of the SDS managements

In WP3, surveys will be performed in each country to examine the motivation and willingness of private forest owners to utilize SDS resources. A theory about “diffusion of innovations” will be employed to evaluate the innovation uptake and diffusion among forestry actors. The macro-economic impact of SDS wood utilization will be predicted with traditional economic methods.

WP 4 / Environmental assessment of the SDS managements

Traditional field measurements (in cooperation with WP2) will be applied in WP4 to evaluate tree and stand damage, forest fire behaviour, as well as the fuel consumption associated with SDS utilization. This analysis will be performed using LCA methodology according ISO standards to assess material end energy consumption and emissions, integrating both primary data from WP2 and secondary data from LCA databases. Benchmarking data on conventional techniques and systems, together with long-term environmental effects will be based on available literature.

WP 5 / Overall analyses of the economic, social and environmental values of the SDS managements

WP5 will primarily use multi-criteria analysis technique to integrate results from WP2, 3 and 4, to determine and compare the overall sustainability impacts and value-creation effects of the studied HEIs.

WP 6 / Communication and project transnational outreach

WP6 (communication and project transnational outreach) will be focused on organisation of outreach activities in all participating countries as well as construction and continuous updating of a project website. WP6 will also develop and launch a web-based tool for calculation of the cost per utilized wood volume in SDS of different types, sizes and densities, open to forest the public.