Innovative Harvest and Regeneration Design for Beetle Site Rehabilitation
By Tony Kryzanowski
Logging & Sawmilling Journal – February 2015

Results from test sites in Alberta show that implementing a rehabilitation design developed by the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) for mountain pine beetle infected stands with over 50 per cent mortality could deliver multiple benefits.

“We have been able to capture some value from these sites, tentatively reduce the pest and fire risk, and enhance stands to put them back on a productive trajectory to meet future objectives of the forest industry,” says Derek Sidders, CWFC Prairie Regional Co-ordinator and Program Manager.

With support from the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) Mountain Pine Beetle Rehabilitation Program, CWFC has partnered with Canfor, Spectrum Resources and University of Alberta researchers on an operational trial aimed at investigating the most effective way to recover value and rehabilitate beetle-affected small stem lodgepole pine mixed stands with over 50 per cent mortality. Forest companies avoid harvesting these sites because they have minimal conventional commercial value. However, left unchecked, they could have a significant impact on the future health and production of the commercial forest. Therefore, there is a need to develop an effective way to rehabilitate these sites.

This development project is taking place on forest blocks totaling approximately 450 hectares north of Grande Prairie. A CWFC-designed rehabilitation system, involving innovative harvesting and regeneration methods, is being deployed.

Sidders describes the harvest prescription as a full tree systematic harvesting pattern, using five metre wide parallel machine corridors centered at 20 metre intervals with landings servicing two to three machine corridors. Between each machine corridor is a 15 metre selection strip, which in total occupy about 75 per cent of the treatment area. Selection from within this area removes active attack trees, trees with commercial product potential and other stems impacting stand health and vigor.

He adds that green active-attacked, red-impacted, and green lodgepole pine trees greater than 20 centimetres in diameter or in dense patches are being recovered from the retention strips. White spruce and aspen are only being harvested from within the machine corridors and will be sorted for sawlog, OSB or biomass production.

If there are stands of dense, green, non-attacked lodgepole pine within the retention strips, the trees are spaced to about three metres between boles.

The completed area, consisting of multiple development and research test sites, will be harvested by the end of March, with site prep and planting taking place this spring and summer.

“We’ve found so far that the harvesting prescription is effective in meeting the objectives of the project and program and is reasonably easy to deploy operationally,” says Sidders.

Once operator training on the unique pattern was completed, the feller bunchers harvested down the machine corridor and back out to the landing, creating bunches from the machine corridor and selected wood from the retention strips. All bunches face the landing and are accessible from the machine corridor. Skidders backed down the machine corridors and grabbed bunches of green, red, and grey lodgepole pine, white spruce and aspen, sorting them into various decks at the landing. The material is then processed, based on the demand for the various products.

The biomass gathered from these sites is being mulched, chipped and compress-baled using a Gyro-Trac Biomass Baling System (BBS) unit, creating 700 to 1,000 kilogram bales for sale to the bioenergy or oil and gas sectors.   The BBS unit is owned and operated by Hedgeco Environmental Management LTD, of Drayton Valley (see pic above).

“Throughout all these operations, time and motion studies are being completed by the CWFC, as well as very detailed time and motions studies on the biomass baler by FPInnovations,” says Sidders.

The treated sites and landing areas are being site prepped for replanting using an excavator mounted mixing or mounding attachment to create suitable micro-sites. Sites will be replanted with white spruce and lodgepole pine. CWFC and University of Alberta researchers will monitor the research sites on an ongoing basis.

Hello to all of our Customers and Friends;

Gyro-Trac is proud to announce that Biomass Baling System (“BBS”) has arrived in Western Canada and is operating in Alberta.

The BBS arrived in mid-January and is presently working on a jobsite north of Grande Prairie.  Daniel Gaudreault, Gyro-Trac’s owner and founder, is currently in Alberta overseeing the introduction of the new BBS, and Gyro-Trac will continue to be available to support this unit through hands-on training and service.

Regarding the Biomass Market, Gyro-Trac is working closely with Tim Keddy of the Department on Natural Resources of Canada as well as the Environmental and Sustainable Resources, private contractors and other parties.  The Canadian Biomass Market has huge potential for growth based on existence of biomass feedstock resources and the push to grow the Biomass Industry.

Gyro-Trac is also excited to announce that it has opened a sales office in Edmonton.
You can contact us locally by calling (780) 719- 9743.
Please reach out to us to learn about the BBS and exciting new developments to other Gyro-Trac’s products.

We look forward to speaking with you and gladly answering any questions you may have about Gyro-Trac.  We are also available to schedule demonstrations of the new BBS.

Daniel Gaudreault, Francois Gaudreault and I will be available in Alberta at various times over the next year or so.

Gyro-Trac anticipates opening a retail store with service, part and sales within approximately the next 12-18 months so that we can offer increased support and service our loyal customers in Western Canada.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at the numbers and email listed below.

Tim Bush, National Sales Manager
780-719-9743- CA.

Bale of mulch BioMass

Bale of Mulch

Biomass, a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms, such as wood, waste, (hydrogen) gas, and alcohol fuels. Biomass is commonly plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce heat. In this sense, living biomass can also be included, as plants can also generate electricity while still alive. The most conventional way in which biomass is used, however, still relies on direct incineration. Forest residues, for example (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps), yard clippings, wood chips and garbage are often used for this. However, biomass also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers or chemicals. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes such organic materials as fossil fuels, which have been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.

Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil). The particular plant used is usually not important to the end products, but it does affect the processing of the raw material.

Although fossil fuels have their origin in ancient biomass, they are not considered biomass by the generally accepted definition because they contain carbon that has been “out” of the carbon cycle for a very long time. Their combustion therefore disturbs the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.

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