Title: Valutazione delle criticità operative degli operatori forestali nell’allestimento ed esbosco di alberi schiantati e danneggiati nella gestione delle foreste colpite da avversità biotiche e abiotiche

Call: D.g.r. n. X/7353 del 14 novembre 2017 – Bando per il finanziamento di progetti di ricerca in campo agricolo e forestale

Duration: 01/07/2020 – 30/06/2022 - 24 months

Coordinator: TESAF Department

Total budget: € 265.013,03

TESAF budget: € 22.694,16

Responsible Scientific Officer/Investigator: Stefano Grigolato

Team: Stefano Grigolato, Raffaele Cavalli, Emanuele Lingua, Francesco Sforza

Brief description: In recent years, forests in Alpine regions have been characterised by an increasing number of natural disturbances, both biotic and abiotic origins. Specifically, a frequency growth of extreme weather events, also due to climate change, has been observed. This kind of disturbance leaded and keep on causing intense and extensive forest damage.
The management of these emergencies requires the involvement of both forest owners and forest operators. As a consequence, two main problems must to be addressed. On one hand, forest owners need rapid and efficient salvage logging operations in order to quickly remove timber from damaged stands. This need to be carried out also to avoid bark beetles outbreak which can affect neighbour still standing forests. Secondly, forest workers have to cope with high operational issues when dealing with windthrown stands, which are associated with high-risk working conditions. We can assume that they need adequate specialised training to handle such complex situations.
Therefore, the emerged evidences from the analysis of the operational reality in Lombardia Region suggests to address the following tasks:

  1. To deepen the knowledge of current operational capacities of forest companies and their operators to work in damaged stands in mountain areas;
  2. To improve the intervention protocols in order to guarantee greater safety to workers involved in harvesting operations, especially when dealing with damaged stands;
  3. To guarantee rapid interventions by well-trained operators in damaged stands harvesting with appropriate techniques and equipment to work in the context of Lombardia region mountain areas.

The criticalities evaluation in tree felling and processing operations will be achieved through two subsequent steps: a first monitoring activity in real environments followed by a test-phase in controlled environments. The test session will be carried out through the use of a mobile simulator of wood tensions, aimed at analysing the operational problems in working with landed logs subject to pulling and compressive stress.
The criticalities evaluation in yarding operations will be similarly carried out through a first monitoring activity in real environments followed by a test-phase in controlled environments. The latter will be carried out through the installation of experimental cable crane system, including both single-span and multiple-span lines, where an integrated rope tension monitoring system will be installed. This system will investigate the possible situations that have to be managed in timber lateral hauling operations, simulating the presence of obstacles and the chaotic arrangement of landed logs, own of windthrown stands.  
The test analyses will involve professional forest operators with different levels of experience and training. In this way it will be possible to evaluate the difference in terms of criticalities investigation and operating methods adopted.
Therefore, the project intends to identify the most relevant criticalities and training deficits of the main categories of subjects potentially operating in complex conditions, with the prospect of achieving support elements to develop specialised training courses.