Cut-To-Length harvesting is environmentally friendly
Cut-to-length harvesting machines have a crane with a reach of about 10 metres, and the trunks can be cut on-site in the forest. This makes possible the selective thinning characteristic of the cut-to-length method. For selective thinning, forest stands that are too dense are thinned, and the stand's best trees are left to continue growing. In this way, we can guarantee that the value of the forest will increase and it will yield high-quality wood in later thinnings or final fellings. With the tree-length method this is not possible.
Using the cut-to-length method, the tree is delimbed and bucked in the forest. This means that all of the nutrition-rich leaves, needles, the branches and tops remain in the forest. In nutrient-poor soil in particular, this ensures that the trees left growing or the regeneration seedlings draw enough nutrients from the soil. With the tree-length method, this nutrient mass is carried out of the forest to the roadside.
For the cut-to-length method, only small roadside landings are needed, since the wood is not processed there. Of course, the finished wood piles still need a roadside landing. Often with the cut-to-length method, the wood transport takes place as soon as possible after the wood has been brought to the side of the road. Thus, the stockpiles do not have time to grow. The tree-length method requires a large roadside landing since that is where the delimbing and bucking take place. Moreover, after harvesting, the large mass of branches and treetops left beside the road must be cleared away from the landing.
Cut-to-length harvesting makes it possible to harvest even small logging areas cost-effectively, since there are fewer machines to move to the work site. This is least expensive with the Ponsse’s own concept Dual harwarder, in which the same machine functions as both harvester and forwarder. Because the cut-to-length method does not involve handling whole trunks, the machines can be relatively light. Moreover, in logging sites with fragile terrain, the harvester leaves branches cluttering the logging road over which the forwarder must drive. Therefore logging damage to the terrain, such as track ruts and broken trees, is considerably less with the cut-to-length method than with the tree-length method.
Thanks to the cleaner after-harvest track, the cost-efficient harvesting of felling sites that are small in surface area, and selective thinning, the cut-to-length harvesting method wins general acceptance more easily.