The potential for increased mechanization of shortwood harvesting in the man-made forests of the state of Sao Paulo

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


In order to assess the potential of increased mechanization of shortwood harvesting in the man-made forests of Sao Paulo, Brazil, surveys and field studies of present systems were made to provide a basis for evaluation. From this information typical domestic systems with field debarking and without field debarking were compared to mechanized systems used in other countries. The analysis of twenty-two systems were made using a deterministic mathematical model to predict total direct cost per stere, man hour per stere, and capital requirements per stere of annual production. In addition, labor and capital requirements to supply a 500 ton per day pulpmill were calculated. The analysis indicated that: (1) field debarking almost doubles direct cost, dramatically increases labor requirements, and significantly increases capital requirements when portable debarkers are used: (2) mechanical loading appears to be both cost effective and an efficient use of capital; (3) additional mechanization results in increases cost, however, this situation is due largely to the prevailing low labor rates which could change in the future; and (4) if shortages of wood labor develops, the transition from domestic systems with field debarking to mechanical systems without field debarking could be made without a major infusion of capital. This study has shown that there is a great need for the standardization of terminology and improved methods of data collection and analysis. The use of computer simulation for systems analysis should be implemented as soon as feasible to provide a sound basis for research and planning.