Compared to harvesting other crops, wood harvesting is significantly different. The annual growth of each individual tree and the living plant cannot be distinguished from one another. Instead, new wood is added inseparably to existing growth until the entire tree is harvested after a waiting period that varies greatly depending on the intended use of the wood, such as 2-3 years on energy plantations (where biomass is produced as fuel for power generation), 12–15 years for fast-growing poplar hybrids, and 100 years or more in temperate and tropical forests.
A management plan is necessary for harvesting since it specifies the annual production and the ᴍᴇᴛʜods of removal. Two alternative harvesting ᴍᴇᴛʜods include large-scale clear-cutting and selective cutting of particular trees or groups of trees. The total net growth of all trees, as estimated by statistical sampling, during that interval determines the volume of timber that is removed at repeated intervals for a forest harvested using the sustained-yield approach. This concept, along with both natural and artificial seeding and planting, ensures the ongoing production of wood and the maintenance of forests.
In order to support sustained-yield management, efforts have been made to produce appropriate ecological labeling (ecolabeling) of solid wood and wood products. Assuring that consumer goods haven’t been produced in a way that ʜᴜʀᴛs the environment is the aim of eco-labeling.
The harvesting process is increasingly being mechanized, although in places with poor yearly yields and difficult topography, the potential of expensive technology is constrained, and in many countries, human and animal labor are still regularly used. High levels of mechanization paired with considerable clear-cutting have particularly negative environmental implications in terms of carbon sequestration and the impact on biodiversity.
In the video below, you will see ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs fast ᴅᴇsᴛʀᴏʏ big tree machines working:
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