The goal of this study was to develop a mathematical model for determination of the optimal winching distance in different conditions as based on harvesting costs. In the thinned forest the strip roads are parallel and the winching routes perpendicularly to them. A directed felling of trees is used so that it is easy to make loads to be winched. The stems can also be prepared to timber assortments on the stump area and gathered to loads for skidding alongside the winching routes.

After winching the timber is transported using a forwarder mowing on the strip roads. If the stems have not been bucked in the forests, they are to be prepared to timber assortments before the following transportation, because the problem of turning whole stems in a thinned forest has not yet been solved.

In the mathematical model the formation of the costs was described using 18 variables of which 15 had an effect on the optimum winching distance. Some empirical values were estimated concerning these variables, and the corresponding optimum winching distance were computed. The optimum was mainly determined by the quantity of timber harvested per unit area, the size of the winching load, the regression coefficient of the times which were depended on the winching distance.

According to the model, the deviation from optimum winching distance does not cause a very great change in the analysed total costs. When the winching distance is longer, the increase of the costs is smaller than if it is shorter than optimum. In general, the increase of the costs was so small that in practice one obviously can be satisfied with rather approximate methods in determining the suitable winching distance.

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