Cover photo: The forwarder is suitable for varying conditions and the most challenging terrains.
PNG Biomass is planning to introduce a highly efficient system of mechanised harvesting to its tree farms in the Markham Valley. It will be using cut-to-length logging (CTL) technology which is a mechanised harvesting system in which trees are delimbed and cut to length directly at the stump. CTL is typically a two-man, two-machine operation with a harvester felling, delimbing, and bucking trees and a forwarder transporting the logs from the felling to a landing area close to a road accessible by trucks.
CTL is the most efficient method for timber harvesting in tree plantations where stems are often harvested before they reach large dimensions. CTL is the primary logging method used in European countries, while full-tree logging and tree-length logging are more popular in North America and less developed countries.
CTL logging comes at a higher capital cost per volume, but the advantages of CTL compared to full-tree logging are numerous:
PNG Biomass is working with two potential suppliers from the USA and Europe to establish a fleet of at least seven harvesters and four forwarders. In addition, a fleet of log trucks will be required, which the project is planning to operate in partnership with landowner companies. All the machinery is designed to be low impact, so they won’t cause compaction of soil and minimise other environmental impacts.
The use of advanced CTL logging technology requires more operator know-how and training. For this reason, PNG Biomass will set up a training program in next 12 months to train local operators 24 months prior to the first commercial tree harvests.