Silviculture: The long road to silviculture mechanisation
While mechanisation in harvesting has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few decades, the same cannot be said for forest growing operations such as planting and pruning, which still rely significantly on manual methods.
However, the forest growing sector faces a number of challenges, including:
Forest owners are finding it difficult to attract people to work in labour-intensive tasks and the costs of these activities continue to rise.
Unless we can make forestry attractive to a new generation of workers this will get worse.
License to operate pressures will continue to increase where chemicals are used.
There is now the opportunity to explore whether advancements in technology can help overcome some of these challenges for forest growing operations. For example, through the implementation or further development of mechanisation, improved handtools or remote sensing, There is also the opportunity to learn from the advances made in other parts of the forest growing in value chain such as in harvesting operations.
The last time the New Zealand forest industry had a coordinated mechanised silviculture research programme was over 30 years ago, with the Silviculture Equipment Research Group.
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