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Integrating Animal and Mechanical Operations in Protected Areas

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Author(s): Natascia Magagnotti | Raffaele Spinelli

Journal: Croatian Journal of Forest Engineering
ISSN 1845-5719

Volume: 32;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 489;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: logging | protected areas | draught animals | economics

ABSTRACT
The authors tested two alternative treatments for small wood extraction in protected conservation areas, respectively based on direct skidding by small crawler tractors and integrated horse bunching and crawler tractor skidding. The integration of horse bunching with tractor skidding proved cheaper than direct tractor skidding, and allowed extending the distance range of horse skidding. Integration also offers many additional benefits, as it can improve work safety and system sustainability. The performance of the integrated system can be optimized by paying special attention to team balance and by manipulating extraction distance. In industrialized countries, the number of horse loggers is so small that they may not contribute large wood volumes to the markets: however, the integration of animal and mechanical power may allow making the most efficient use of the few remaining horse logging operations, and increase their contribution to low-impact, cost-effective wood extraction in protected conservation areas. A similar and converse effect could be obtained in developing countries, where integration would allow making the most efficient use of the few available tractors. Efficient use of draught horses may also help increasing horse logger revenues, thus providing a further motivation to stay in business, and contributing to environmentally compatible economic development.
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