New FPInnovations initiative on steep slope harvesting
September 17, 2015 - In Western Canada, there are significant volumes of timber that are growing on slopes greater than 30 per cent. With the decrease in fibre supply resulting from the mountain pine beetle epidemic, the industry in that region needs to access more timber from steep terrain. At the beginning of 2015, FPInnovations launched a five-year steep slope harvesting initiative called STEEP that has three main goals:
1.Increase safety of operations on steep slope and reduce accidents by 50 per cent.
2.Increase margins on fibre recovered from steep terrain by $5/m³.
3.Provide an additional sustainable volume of 2 million m³ from steep terrain.
To achieve these objectives, FPInnovations will step up its research efforts in its harvesting, resource roads, and transportation programs. There will also be extensive liaison with international partners since many regions of the world including New Zealand, and countries in South America and Europe are also actively engaged in developing and testing new technology for harvesting in steep terrain.
The focus in the initial stages of the initiative will be on technology assessments and gradual implementation in western Canadian operations, along with collaboration with equipment manufacturers and safety agencies to ensure that the innovations considered will have a positive impact on the safety record of the industry. In the medium term, FPInnovations will also aim to foster the development of domestically-produced technologies and work with government partners to ensure that environmentally acceptable best practices are used in harvesting, road construction, and regeneration.
For more information on the steep slope initiative, please contact Jim Hunt.