"Dirtshop" Aims to Improve Operational Practices

PF Olsen is collaborating with Opus International Consultants Limited and Andy Woolhouse (of EMTS Limited) to improve management of forest engineering operations, through on-site workshops (or Dirtshops). The on-site workshops will be attended by PF Olsen operations managers and forest engineering contractors and are aimed at minimising environmental risk associated with planning and execution of earthmoving and harvesting operations.

Research shows that well-managed commercial production forest management on steep hill country has similar erosion and sediment effects as native vegetation most of the time, and well below pastoral land use over the long-term (see http://www.hbrc.govt.nz/Land/PakuratahiLandUseStudy/tabid/299/Default.aspx and Forestry Scores High on Eco–Services below). However, roading and harvesting present short periods of heightened environmental risk.

This photo clearly shows that land under production forestry has significantly less erosion than under pasture. However, it is important to ensure that during the roading and harvesting phase erosion and sedimentation is adequately controlled.

Opus has run similar workshops for its own staff and contractors in the civil engineering environment and is currently working with PF Olsen to adapt them for forestry conditions and operations.

Jared Lee (PF Olsen Harvesting Manager - left), Dean Neilson (Opus Work Group Manager - Project Services - middle and Willie Grey (Opus Regional Technical Leader) survey a rather wet forest site as part of scoping the upcoming Dirtshop

With the increased frequency of more intense weather events it is critical that we find engineering solutions that minimise adverse environmental impacts but are still cost-effective and maintain the economic viability of forestry on this class of land.