Decision support for forest harvest residue collection
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Forest harvest residues are often available at roadside landings as a byproduct of the log manufacturing process. This residue is usually available for renewable energy production if desired, however there is a significant amount of residues that do not reach the landing during the harvesting process that could potentially increase the supply of forest biomass from each harvest unit. The proportion of recoverable residues depends on their collection costs which are a function of the distance from roadside landing, terrain conditions, and collection method as well as subsequent truck transportation costs. Residues close to landings and nearest to the processing center will usually have the lowest delivered costs. Tradeoffs between increasing truck transportation costs and increasing collection costs affect which residues will be collected to reach a supply target or residue payment price. A forest residue collection model using forwarders and excavator loaders is presented to estimate the potential cost of biomass extraction from the forest to roadside landings. Tradeoffs between increasing collection costs and increasing road transportation are examined. The impact of tax credits and site preparation savings are discussed. On flatter terrain, one excavator is efficient at short distances. As distance from landing increases, one excavator loading one forwarder becomes more efficient, and at long distances, one excavator loading two forwarders becomes more efficient. Video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5xOUmmdtC4.