Producing woodfuel in the Alpine forests: quantities, harvesting systems and costs

Raffaele Spinelli, Natascia Magagnotti


In the Alps, a further development of the bioenergy sector depends on the exploitation of forest resources, within
the limits of environmental and economical sustainability. In 2003 CNR launched a research programme aimed at
testing the best technology options for harvesting forest biomass on the Eastern Alps. To date, 20 harvesting trials have been conducted, covering 38 hectares of forest and producing 1730 hours of detailed stop-watching sessions. The trials have been performed on mature softwood stands, young spruce or pine plantations, «invasion» forests and riparian stands. The research has produced a number of electronic models that calculate the harvesting cost of alternative technology options for the technical and economical input data inserted by users. The results highlight the importance of mechanization, logistics and product integration.


biomass, mechanization, Alps, harvester; cost.

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