Current issue: 57(1)
The time consumption (TC) of pre-commercial thinning (PCT) varies greatly among sites, stands and forest workers. The TC in PCT is usually estimated by field-assessed work difficulty factors. In this study, a linear mixed model for the TC in PCT was prepared by utilizing forest resources data (FRD). The modelling data included 11 848 and validation data included 3035 worksites with TC information recorded by forest workers within the period of 2008–2018. The worksites represented a range of site and stand conditions across a broad geographical area in Finland. Site and stand characteristics and previous management logically explained the TC in PCT. The more fertile the site, the more working time was needed in PCT. On sites of medium fertility, TC in the initial PCT increased with stand age by 0.5 h ha–1 yr–1. Site wetness increased the TC. PCT in summer was more time consuming than in spring. Small areas were more time consuming to PCT per hectare than larger ones. The between-forest worker variation involved in the TC was as high as 35% of the variation unexplained by the TC model. The coefficient of determination in validation data was 19.3%, RMSE 4.75 h ha–1 and bias –1.6%. The TC model based on FRD was slightly less precise than the one based on field-assessed work difficulty factors (removal quantity and type and terrain difficulty): RMSE 4.9 h ha–1 vs. 4.1 h ha–1 (52% vs. 43%). The TC model could be connected to forest information systems where it would facilitate the predictions of the labour costs of PCT without field-assessing work difficulty factors.
Operating conditions affecting the quality of spot mounding by Bracke continuously advancing mounders were investigated on 66 regeneration areas (124 ha) in eastern Finland. The quality of mounds was classified as suitable (good or acceptable after additional compression) or unsuitable for planting. Models were constructed for the number of suitable planting spots obtained per hectare (good and acceptable mounds), the probability of successful mounding (≥1600 planting spots ha–1) and the probability of creating a suitable mound as a function of terrain, site and soil characteristics, as well as slash conditions (removed, fresh or dry logging residues). The average number of mounds created was 1892 ± 290 mounds ha–1, of which 1398 ± 325 mounds ha–1 (74%) were classified as suitable for planting. The quality of spot mounding was reduced by steep terrain, a thick humus layer and fresh logging residues. Stoniness and soil texture also affected the number of planting spots created. Mounding after logging residues had dried increased the number of planting spots by 191 spots ha–1 compared with mounding in the presence of fresh residues. Removing residues did not significantly increase the number of planting spots compared with mounding amongst dry residues. A thick humus layer, very stony soil, steep slopes and valley terrain decreased the number of planting spots by 150–450 spots ha–1. The number and quality of mounds varied considerably according to the operating conditions, but with careful selection of timing and sites the quality obtained by a continuously advancing mounder can be improved.