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Innovation in Windthrow Recovery Harvesting in Canterbury

In September and October 2013 two major storms hit the Canterbury region with wind gusts up to 200 kph. GlenArlie Forest in Glentunnel suffered damage to mature trees in a steep part of the forest aptly named Mount Misery. The two wind events created horrific damage with a large percentage of the trees snapped off between 5 and 15 metres up the stem and others laid flat in various directions.

A new harvest system had to be invented to safely extract the wood. A large double hook was manufactured to fit behind the grapple of a hauler. The hauler operator would manoeuvre this hook behind any standing spars, pull them over and the hauler grapple would then pick up the stem and root-ball to extract it to a pad. This eliminated the risk of having people on the ground at any stage in the process.

This is an operation requiring skill and a high degree co-ordination between the hauler operator and the spotter/backline machine operator. While the hook is close to the hauler the hauler operator can use the swing function of the machine to locate the hook behind a standing spar and pull it over. However once the hook gets approximately half way to the backline machine the hauler does not have enough swing to locate the hook behind the spars. It is then that the backline machine operator swings his machine to locate the hook, communicates once ready to the hauler operator, then digs the bucket in to stabilize the machine. Approximately five versions of this hook were constructed before one was found to do the job efficiently.

Without the skill, expertise and commitment to health and safety of the whole Button Logging crew and its owner Dave Button, this job would have been much more difficult and dangerous.

Windthrow logging
Button Logging developed an innovative approach to extracting logs from a wind-thrown site in Canterbury.