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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Techniques and productivity of coppice harvesting operations in Europe: a meta-analysis of available data

Published Date
Original Paper
DOI: 10.1007/s13595-016-0578-x

Cite this article as: 
Spinelli, R., Cacot, E., Mihelic, M. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2016). doi:10.1007/s13595-016-0578-x

  • Raffaele Spinelli
  • Emmanuel Cacot
  • Matevz Mihelic
  • Ljupco Nestorovski
  • Piotr Mederski
  • Eduardo Tolosana


Key message

Coppice harvesting technology is evolving toward increased mechanization and larger more efficient equipment. Nevertheless, cheap and versatile general-purpose machines (excavators and farm tractors) still represent the backbone of coppice mechanization, which is consistent with the rural character of coppice economy.


Operating within the scope of COST Action FP1301 “Eurocoppice”, the authors conducted a survey of coppice harvesting studies produced in Europe from 1970 to present. The survey focused on traditional coppice stands and excluded industrial short-rotation coppice, established with willow, poplar, eucalyptus, or other fast-growing species.


The goals of this study were to calculate productivity benchmarks for coppice harvesting operations and to gauge the progress achieved over the past 40-plus years.


Data from existing studies (published and unpublished) were collected through a harmonized questionnaire and gathered into a single master database. Statistical analysis was used to estimate productivity models and determine possible differences between methods, work conditions, and time periods.


Six productivity models were estimated for the main harvesting steps and technologies. Productivity varied with a number of factors and notably with removal (m3 ha−1). The analysis disclosed a clear trend toward increased mechanization and higher productivity.


Coppice harvesting is being mechanized, but the mechanization deployed in coppice stands is adapted to the specific conditions offered by these stands. Light, cheap, and versatile machines are generally preferred to heavy industrial equipment.


FellingExtractionLoggingHardwood mechanizationClear cutSelection


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