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Recovering of forest biomass from Spanish hybrid poplar plantations

Tolosana, Eduardo, Laina, Rubén, Martínez-Ferrari, Rocío, Ambrosio, Yolanda
Biomass and bioenergy 2011 v.35 no.7 pp. 2570-2580
biomass, branches, energy, equations, farms, forests, hybrids, plantations, shredding, stumps, timber production, timber supply, tractors, trailers, trucks, wood, Spain
Residues recovering from traditional poplar plantations for timber production are a potential relevant biomass source in Spain and other temperate countries. Three different residual biomass harvesting systems have been work-studied in order to characterize the work methods and analyze their productivity and cost. Two were oriented to branches, top and/or energy wood collection, chipping and transport using different work methods, while the other one consisted of after-logging stumps removal and shredding. Different sized and powered chippers worked in the two first cases, besides different farm tractors with trailers for off-road chips transport. Also the trucks and the loading machines were different. In the third site, a backhoe excavator removed the stumps, and a bucket loader collected them to be grinded by a shredding machine. Productivity and cost have been analyzed using IUFRO standards, providing average figures and, when possible, predictive productivity equations. Most capital-intensive equipment option has shown to be most productive, but less investment requiring system is cheaper and may be most interesting for some enterprise and plantation sizes. In addition, logistics of biomass and timber supply has been analyzed, and some indications about equipment sizing, machine annual production and relocation costs related to supply area and average plantation size are provided.