Creation of value through the improvement of bucking techniques for cut-to-length mechanized forest operations performed in deciduous-dominated stands
The role and influence of tree bucking on product yield and revenue is paramount. This is particularly the case for hardwood trees, where variations in tree form and grade are frequent and complicate bucking. Mistakes done at the processing stage can trigger losses that are impossible to recover later on in the supply chain. In an effort to increase product recovery and revenues, this project aims at introducing automatic bucking, as suggested by harvesters’ on-board computers, to mechanized operations performed in deciduous-dominated stands. Through an iterative process, stem taper functions for four hardwood species will be developed and used to feed a species dependent database in the on-board computers. Because of tree morphology, stem taper will likely be adequate only in the straight segments, normally located at the bottom of a tree. Tree form codes, based on the New Brunswick tree classification system, will be used by the operators to supplement stem taper functions and improve the bucking process. The redesigned bucking process will be validated through extensive field studies and recommendations will be given to machine manufacturers.