Mountains in Europe occupy about 35% of the land area and are mostly covered by forests.
Forestry operations in mountain areas are seldom performed by the harvester/forwarder system, being the sector still characterized by manual felling and extraction of timber by cable cranes. Due to the limits posed by steep terrain conditions, poor road network of mountain areas, limited storage and operational room, harvesting and extracting systems are more expensive and less flexible compared to the cut-to-length systems based on wheeled machines, commonly found in flatland forests of EU Nordic Countries.
Powerful and intelligent machines must be developed for forest works in steep terrain. This is the gap that SLOPE will try to fill in by developing an integrated system, from forest information system to logistic transportation, that allows optimization of the forest production in mountain areas.
The project will integrate information from remote sensing, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and on-field surveying systems, to support macro and local analysis to characterize forest resources. Spatial information will be integrated with multi-sensor data in a model for Sustainable Forest Management and for optimization of logistics during forest operations.
Intelligent technologies will be integrated in the cable crane/processor head to measure different data for the assessment of the assortment variety. Different Non-Destructive Testing methods, as well as pioneering chemometric analysis, will be tested during the project. Different traceability systems will be coupled to chemometric data, to trace the material, from the site throughout the supply chain.
Information about material origin, quality and availability will be integrated in a unique system, accessible online and available in real time to a series of operators.
The integration and post-processing of data collected by SLOPE will be used for further optimization of the “mountain forest models” and finally silviculture routines.