The forest fire danger potential is expected to increase due to a warmer climate on the Mediterranean region. On the other hand, an increase in biomass demand is expected in a growing bioeconomy.
Therefore, improvements in forest fire prevention and efficient technologies and working methods for biomass harvesting become critical, especially in young and dense forest stands.
Mechanical mulching with biomass recovery not only would reduce the risk of forest fires and its severity on those stands, but also would contribute to the development of the bioeconomy by providing renewable resources to the industry.
The mulcher-collector Retrabio is a vehicle with a grinding head, that collects and crushes the biomass, and a 24 m3 container, where the crushed material is stored. This technology was studied on young and dense willow and pine stands in the Northwest of Spain.
Surface and weight productivities, collection efficiency, cost, stump heights and damages to the remaining trees were analyzed. The cost and productivity of the selective clearing by operators with portable brush cutters on the strips unaffected by the systematic mechanized mulching were also analyzed.