The protection of soil properties and of the residual stand is an important objective of commercial thinning operations. As part of FPInnovations’ program aimed at reducing fibre acquisition costs while maintaining environmental sustainability, a study was conducted with J.D. Irving to test the relative impacts on soils of two different-sized forwarders working in a commercial thinning operation. The study took place in November 2015 and compared the forwarding capacity, rutting depth, and soil compaction of a 12-tonne Ponsse Wisent versus a 14-tonne Ponsse Buffalo working in a plantation setting near Saint John, New Brunswick.
A better understanding of the rutting impact caused by larger machinery such as the 14-tonne Ponsse Buffalo will allow forest managers to better weigh the costs and benefits when choosing the most appropriate machine for their needs while considering the various types of operating conditions the machine will encounter.