15. October, 2021

A field event took place in Spain last September 2021 after 2 years of delay due to the pandemic. This Smallwood  demonstration day was founded by ERA-Net ForestValue program where the Spanish Department of Science and Innovation is the domestic funder.

The Bracke C16 harvesting head cut small oak trees in the Leon province (Northwest of Spain). The stand was a highly dense, 30 years old Quercus pyrenaica forest. Firstly, the experienced operator trained for 3 days in this oak forest. Secondly, a 1-day trial was performed without experimental design constrains. Thirdly, a public event with almost 40 participants was celebrated to show and discuss about the machine and its use in oak forests in Spain. Finally, 20 forest study units defined under an experimental design were cut to study the productivity and environmental parameters, and to analyze the influence of the work proposed methods boom corridor versus selective thinning..

Most of the attendees to the demonstration were forestry managers. They had a lively discussion about the suitability of the technology and the impacts of the working methods tested. This discussion was enriched with the participation of logging managers, forest operation chiefs and professors. Pros and cons were exposed: the impact on resprouting linked with fire hazard, the estimated cost in comparison with manual thinning, the next thinning needed according with the remained tree density, rural development.

The designed trial was performed after the public event. Ten study units per working method were harvested. A research team of ETSI Montes, Forestales y del Medio Natural School (Technical University of Madrid) made a previous forest inventory, followed by the time study of machine work and finally a post-inventory was carried out to complete the experimental design. The methodology followed in this study was the same than the one applied in the other country partners.

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