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Stumpwood attracts renewed interest due to increased use of forest biomass for bioenergy. In Nordic countries stumps are generally uprooted with crawler excavators, which have strong cranes (ca. 400 kNm gross lift torque), but are not designed for moving in forest terrain. Their use is based on practical experience with available and tested machine types rather than thorough examinations of requirements, partly due to limited knowledge of force requirements for uprooting of stumps. Therefore, in this work mean and maximum forces required to vertically uproot stumps of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and birch (Betula spp.) were quantified together with the effects of various soil types and uprooting methods. The used excavator’s crane-mounted uprooting device enabled comparisons between usage of solely crane force, and a method in which preparatory loosening forces were applied prior to crane force. Uprooting stumps in single pieces proved difficult; 61% split unintentionally. Force requirements were similar across tree species, increasing curve-linearly with stump diameter, and stumps uprooted in a single piece required more force than split stumps. Preparatory loosening reduced crane force requirements and, surprisingly, less force was required to uproot stumps from a mesic, till soil than from a moist, finer-textured soil. No stump required more than 60 kN crane force and functions for maximum force requirements indicate that powerful harvesters and forwarders (gross crane lifting capacity of 273 and 155 kNm, respectively) should be able to uproot all stumps with ≤ 61 cm and ≤ 32 cm diameter, respectively, in one piece. Larger stumps could be managed if it is acceptable that stumps are split before uprooting.