Economic efficiency of fully mechanized timber harvesting in coniferous stands of the 2nd age class


  • Grzegorz Szewczyk University of Agriculture in Krakow Department of Forest Utilisation, Engineering and Forest Technology Al. 29 Listopada 46 31-425 Krakow
  • Jozef Krilek Technical University in Zvolen Department of Environmental and Forestry Machinery Ul. T.G. Masaryka 24 960 01 Zvolen
  • Dariusz Kulak University of Agriculture in Krakow Department of Forest Utilisation, Engineering and Forest Technology Al. 29 Listopada 46 31-425 Krakow
  • Krzysztof Leszczyński University of Agriculture in Krakow Department of Forest Utilisation, Engineering and Forest Technology Al. 29 Listopada 46 31-425 Krakow
  • Tomasz Pacia State Forest Holding 'Lasy Panstwowe' Rudy Raciborskie Forest District Ul. Rogera 1A 47-430 Rudy
  • Janusz Michał Sowa University of Agriculture in Krakow Department of Forest Utilisation, Engineering and Forest Technology Al. 29 Listopada 46 31-425 Krakow
  • Arkadiusz Stanczykiewicz University of Agriculture in Krakow Department of Forest Utilisation, Engineering and Forest Technology Al. 29 Listopada 46 31-425 Krakow



cut-to-length, harvesters, unit costs, timber harvesting efficiency, early thinning in pine stands


The aim of the study was to determine the unit costs of mechanizedtimber harvesting in pine stands where early thinning was being performed, and todetermine the relationship between the cost level and the volume of harvested trees,the harvester model and field conditions. Analysis focused on timber harvesting withthe use of small- and mid-sized harvesters. The tested harvesters were specializedforestry machines (Vimek, Sampo, Profi-Pro, Ponsse) and a construction machine(Fao-Far). Terrain accessibility variants were distinguished in relation to furrowsbetween which trees had been planted in the past: flat terrain with the depth ofunevenness up to 20 cm, up to 40 cm, and over 40 cm. The operating costs ofthe analyzed harvesters varied significantly, an hour of operation of the machinethat was the cheapest to use (Fao-Far) cost nearly 2.5 times less (37.3 €) than theProfi-Pro harvester, which was the most expensive in operation (89.1 €). In standswithout furrows, the lowest unit costs were noted for the Sampo harvester: 8.4 €·m-3.The other small harvesters, Vimek and Fao-Far, were slightly more expensive touse: 10.3 €·m-3 and 9.1 €·m-3, respectively. In areas where furrows were up to 20cm deep, the cheapest solution was timber harvesting with the Fao-Far harvester(9.9 €·m-3). In areas where furrows were up to 40 cm deep, timber harvesting wasthe cheapest with the Sampo harvester (10.7 €·m-3), while harvesters Vimek andFao-Far were characterized by a similar cost intensity, amounting to just over 12€·m-3. In stands with furrows deeper than 40 cm, it was cheapest to use the Ponsseharvester (10.4 €·m-3). The cost of operation of the Profi-Pro harvester was higherby approx. 25% (14.0 €·m-3). With the current level of the financing of mechanizedtimber harvesting in Poland (about 11 €·m-3), small harvesters Vimek, Sampo andFao-Far are cost-effective when single tree volume exceeds 0.05-0.06 m3. Mediumharvesters, Profi-Pro and Ponsse, are cost-effective when unit volumes of harvestedtrees reach 0.08 and 0.11 m3 respectively. The cost-effectiveness of the testedharvesters increased when working shifts were extended.


Abbas D., Hodges D., Heard J. 2019. Costing the forest operations and the supply of hardwoods in Tennessee. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 40(1): 49–54.

Ackerman P., Belbo H., Eliasson L., De Jong A., Lazdiņš A., Lyons J. 2014. The COST model for calculation of forest operations costs. International Journal of Forest Engineering 25(1): 75–81. DOI: 10.1080/14942119.2014.903711

Apăfăian A.I., Proto A.R., Borz S.A. 2017. Performance of a mid-sized harvester-forwarder system in integrated harvesting of sawmill, pulpwood and firewood. Ann. For. Res. 60(2): 227-241. DOI: 10.15287/afr.2017.909

Bergström D., Bergsten U., Nordfjell T., Lundmark T. 2007. Simulation of geometric thinning systems and their time requirements for young forests. Silva Fennica 41(1): 137–147. DOI: 10.14214/sf.311

Dvořák J., Bystrický R., Hošková P., Hrib M., Jarkovská M., Kováč J., Krilek J., Natov P., Natovová L. 2011. The use of harvester technology in production forests. Kostelec nad Černými Lesy. Czechia: Folia Forestalia Bohemica, 156 p.

Eliasson L. 1999. Simulation of thinning with a single-grip harvester. Forest Science 45(1): 26–34.

Eriksson M., Lindroos O. 2014. Productivity of harvesters and forwarders in CTL operations in northern Sweden based on large follow-up datasets. International Journal of Forest Engineering (25)3: 179–200. DOI: 10.1080/14942119.2014.974309

Fahlvik N., Ekö P.M., Petersson N. 2015. Effects of precommercial thinning strategies on stand structure and growth in a mixed even-aged stand of Scots pine, Norway spruce and Birch in southern Sweden. Silva Fennica 49(3): 1–17. DOI: 10.14214/sf.1302

Giefing D. F., Bembenek M., Gackowski M., Grzywiński W., Karaszewski Z., Klentak I., Siewert S. 2012. Evaluation of technological processes of timber harvesting in late thinning of pine stands. Research methodology. Nauka Przyroda Technologie 6(3): 59-82. [In Polish]

Giefing D.F., Gackowski M. 2001. Ekonomiczna efektywność pozyskiwania drewna krótkiego w drzewostanach III klasy wieku w zależności od zastosowanych urządzeń zrywkowych. Economic effectiveness of short-wood harvesting in stands of age class III depending on the skidding devices used. Prace Komisji Nauk Rolniczych PAU 3: 17-27. [In Polish]

Glazar K., Maciejewska H. 2008. Struktura czasu i wydajność pozyskiwania i zrywki drewna w drzewostanach sosnowych przy użyciu harwardera Buffalo Dual. Work time structure and efficiency of logging and skidding in pine stands using Buffalo Dual harwarder. Inżynieria Rolnicza 12: 111-118. [In Polish]

Glazar K., Wojtkowiak R. 2008. Koszty pracy maszyn leśnych. Labour costs of forest machinery. Poznań. Poland: Przemysłowy Instytut Maszyn Rolniczych, 76 p. ISBN 978-83-927505-2-9. [In Polish]

Grodecki J. 1988. Analiza pracochłonności pozyskiwania drewna z wczesnych trzebieży drzewostanów sosnowych. Analysis of labour-consuming by timber harvesting from early thinning pine stands. Prace Komisji Nauk Rolniczych i Leśnych Poznańskiego TPN 66: 23-29. [In Polish]

Holzleitner F., Langmaier M., Hochbichler E., Obermayer B., Stampfer K., Kanzian Ch. 2019. Effect of prior tree marking, thinning method and topping diameter on harvester performance in a first thinning operation – a field experiment. Silva Fennica. (53)3: 1-22. DOI: 10.14214/sf.10178

Holzleitner F., Stampfer K., Visser R. 2011. Utilization rates and cost factors in timber harvesting based on longterm machine data. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering. 32(2): 501–508.

Jaworski A. 2013. Hodowla lasu. Tom II. Silviculture. Volume II. Warszawa, Poland: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Rolnicze i Leśne, 400 p. ISBN: 978-83-09-01116-3 [In Polish]

Jodłowski K. 2000. Koszty pozyskiwania drewna i uszkodzenia drzew we wczesnych trzebieżach drzewostanów sosnowych. Logging costs and tree damage in early thinning of pine stands. Głos Lasu 7: 25-27. [In Polish]

Kärhä K., Rönkkö E., Gumse S. 2004. Productivity and cutting costs of thinning harvesters. International Journal of Forest Engineering 2: 43–56. DOI: 10.1080/14942119.2004. 10702496

Kormanek M., Baj D. 2018. Analysis of operation performance in the process of machine wood harvesting with Fao-Far 6840 mini-harvester. Agricultural Engineering 22(1): 73 -82.

Kováč J., Ťavoda P., Harvánek P., Krilek J., Aleš Z. 2021. The operational reliability analysis of machinery: A case study of forest forwarders and their technological equipment. Forests 12, 404. DOI: 10.3390/f12040404

Kulak D., Stańczykiewicz A., Szewczyk G. 2017. Productivity and time consumption of timber extraction with a grapple skidder in selected pine stands. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering (38)1: 55-63.

Labelle E.R., Bergen M., Windisch J. 2017. The effect of quality bucking and automatic bucking on harvesting productivity and product recovery in a pine-dominated stand. European Journal of Forest Research 136: 639–652. DOI: 10.1007/s10342-017-1061-4

Lazdiņš A., Prindulis U., Kalēja S., Daugaviete M., Zimelis A. 2016. Productivity of Vimek 404 T5 harvester and Vimek 610 forwarder in early thinning. Agronomy Research 14(2): 475–484.

Leszczyński K., Stańczykiewicz A., Kulak D., Szewczyk G, Tylek P. 2021. Estimation of productivity and costs of using a track mini-harvester with a stroke head for the first commercial thinning of a Scots pine stand. Forests 12, 870. DOI: 10.3390/f12070870

Mederski P.S, Werk K., Bembenek M., Karaszewski Z., Brunka M., Naparty K. 2019. Harvester efficiency in trunk utilisation and log quality of early thinning pine trees. Forest Research Papers 80(1): 45–53. DOI: 10.2478/frp-2019-0004

Mederski P.S. 2006. A comparison of harvesting productivity and costs in thinning operations with and without midfield. Forest Ecology and Management 224: 286–296.

Mederski P.S., Venanzi R., Bembenek M., Karaszewski Z., Rosińska M., Pilarek Z., Luchenti I., Surus M. 2018. Designing thinning operations in 2nd age class pine stands — economic and environmental implications. Forests 9, 335. DOI: 10.3390/f9060335

Mederski P.S., Karaszewski Z., Rosińska M., Bembenek M. 2016. Dynamika zmian liczby harwesterów w Polsce oraz czynniki determinujące ich występowanie. Dynamics of changes in the number of harvesters in Poland and factors determining their occurrence. Sylwan 160(10): 795−804. [In Polish]

Miyata E.S. 1980. Determining fixed and operating costs of logging equipment. Northern Central Forest Experimental Station, US Forest Service, St. Paul, Minnesota. General Technical Report Nr. NC-55, 16 p.

Moskalik T., Borz S.A., Dvořák J., Ferencik M., Glushkov S., Muiste P., Lazdiņš A., Styranivsky O. 2017. Timber harvesting methods in Eastern European countries: a review. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 38 (2): 231-241.

Novák J., Dušek D., Slodičák M., Kacálek D. 2017. Importance of the first thinning in young mixed Norway spruce and European beech stands. Journal of Forest Science 63(6): 254-262. DOI: 10.17221/5/2017-JFS

Nuutinen Y., Väätäinen K., Asikainen A., Prinz R., Heinonen J. 2010. Operational efficiency and damage to sawlogs by feed rollers of the harvester head. Silva Fennica 44(1): 121-139.

Primicia I., Artázcoz R., Imbert J., Puertas F., Traver M. 2016. Influence of thinning intensity and canopy type on Scots pine stand and growth dynamics in a mixed managed forest. Forest Systems 25(2): 1-10. DOI: 10.5424/fs/2016252-07317

Proto A.R., Macrì G., Visser R., Harrill H., Russo D., Zimbalatti G. 2018. Factors affecting forwarder productivity. European Journal of Forest Research 137: 143–151. DOI: 10.1007/s10342-017-1088-6

Russell F., Mortimer D. 2005. A review of small-scale harvesting systems in use worldwide and their potential application in Irish forestry. Dublin, Ireland: COFORD, National Council for Forest Research and Development, 56 p.

Sowa J.M., Gielarowiec K., Gaj-Gielarowiec D. 2013. Characteristics and development of harvester head designs for logging. Forestry Letters 105: 57-76. [In Polish]

Sowa J.M., Kulak D., Szewczyk G. 2007. Costs and efficiency of timber harvesting by NIAB 5–15 processor mounted on a farm tractor. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 28(2): 177-184.

Spinelli, R., Magagnotti, N. 2010. Performance and cost of a new mini-forwarder for use in thinning operations. Journal of Forest Research 15(6):358–364.

Spinelli, R., Magagnotti, N., Nati, C. 2010. Benchmarking the impact of traditional small-scale logging systems used in Mediterranean forestry. Forest Ecology and Management 260: 1997–2001.

Statistical Yearbook of Forestry 2020. Statistics Poland. Warszawa. Poland.

Suchomel Ch., Spinelli R., Magagnotti N. 2012. Productivity of processing hardwood from coppice forest. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering (33)1: 39-47.

Szewczyk G. 2014. Model strukturalny dynamiki zmienności pracy na wybranych stanowiskach roboczych w pozyskiwaniu i zrywce drewna. Structural model of work variability dynamics at selected work sites in timber harvesting and skidding. Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Rolniczego im. Hugona Kołłątaja w Krakowie nr 522. Rozprawy, zeszyt 399, 174 p. ISSN 1899-3486. [In Polish]

Szewczyk G., Kulak D. 2013. Kosztochłonność pozyskania drewna harwesterem w drzewostanach przebudowywanych z zastosowaniem cięć częściowych. Cost intensity of harvesting with a harvester in stands converted with partial cutting. Sylwan 157(4): 243–252. [in Polish]

Szewczyk G., Sowa J.M. 2017. The accuracy of measurements in a time study of harvester operations. New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 47: 24. DOI: 10.1186/s40490-017-0105-3

Szewczyk G., Sowa J.M., Grzebieniowski W., Kormanek M., Kulak D., Stańczykiewicz A. 2014. Sequencing of harvester work during standard cuttings and in areas with windbreaks. Silva Fennica 48(4):1–16. DOI: 10.14214/sf.1159

Szewczyk G., Spinelli R., Maganotti N., Tylek P., Sowa J.M., Rudy P., Gaj-Gielarowiec D. 2020. The mental workload of harvester operators working in steep terrain conditions. Silva Fennica 54(3): 1-18. DOI: 10.14214/sf.10355

Thurn E., Pretzsch H. 2021. Growth–density relationship in mixed stands – Results from long-term experimental plots. Forest Ecology and Management 483: 1-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118909

Triplat M., Krajnc N. 2020. Assessment of costs in harvesting systems using WoodChainManager web-based tool. Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering 41(1): 49-57. DOI: 10.5552/crojfe.2020.583

Tylek P., Poroszewski P. 2015. Technical and exploitation analysis of the operation of the forwarder Ponsse Wisent. Mobilné energetické prostriedky – Hydraulika – Životné prostredie – Ergonómia mobilnych strojov. Zvolen, Slovakia: Technická Univerzita, 143–151.

Więsik J. 2015. Urządzenia techniczne w produkcji leśnej. Tom 2. Maszyny i urządzenia do pozyskiwania i transportu drewna. Technical equipment in forestry production. Volume 2. Logging and haulage machinery and equipment. Warszawa, Poland: Wydawnictwo SGGW, 591 p. [In Polish]

Wójcik K. 2010. Nowoczesne maszyny i technologie dla leśnictwa. Modern machinery and technology for forestry. Technika Rolnicza Ogrodnicza Leśna 2: 21-25. [In Polish]

Zarządzenie nr 35 Dyrektora Generalnego Lasów Państwowych z 29 czerwca 2016 r. w sprawie udostępnienia drzewostanów siecią szlaków operacyjnych w jednostkach organizacyjnych Lasów Państwowych. Order No. 35 of the Director General of the State Forests of 29 June 2016 on making stands available to the network of operational trails in the organisational units of the State Forests. [In Polish]

Zasady Użytkowania Lasu 2019. Principles of Forest Utilisation. Warszawa, Poland: PGL Lasy Państwowe, 47 p. [In Polish]

Zimelis A., Lazdiņš A., Spalva G. 2017. Comparison of productivity of Vimek harvester in birch plantation and young coniferous stands. Research for Rural Development 1: 107-112. DOI: 10.22616/rrd.23.2017.016

Zinkevičius R., Steponavičius D., Vitunskas D., Činga G. 2012. Comparison of harvester and motor-manual logging in intermediate cuttings of deciduous stands. Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry 36: 591-600. DOI: 10.3906/tar-1103-46






Research article