Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Anil Raj Kizha

Second Committee Member

Adam Daigneault

Third Committee Member

Laura Kenefic

Additional Committee Members

Ling Li

John-Pascal Berrill

Abstract

Sustainably managed forest and forest products are at the center as the world move toward a green economy. Sustainable forest management (SFM) cannot be possible without sustainability in forest operations, which includes quality optimization and ergonomics along with environment, economics, and people. To excel in the above-mentioned performance areas, all tools need to be employed to generate knowledge that enables forest managers and policymakers to preserve forests as a renewable resource. Machine cost and productivity estimation, forest growth modeling (Forest Vegetation Simulator), soil erosion modeling (Universal Soil Loss Equation), forestry best management practices (BMP) assessment, questionnaire survey, and life cycle assessment (LCA) techniques were used in this thesis to study sustainable forest operations in the northeast U.S. The first chapter introduces the importance of forest operations in SFM. The second chapter shows how the cost of harvesting on fragile soil was higher than on sturdy soil. Number of logs per cycle was a common factor in determining the productivity of all equipment in a cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting method. Dependence of harvesting cost on fuel and labor cost was recognized. Predicted time required to regrow harvested merchantable volume was comparable to similar silvicultural treatments in the region. The third chapter evaluates harvested stands and showed a negative correlation between predicted soil erosion rate and BMP implementation score among harvesting methods. Even though there was no significant difference between predicted soil erosion rate between harvesting methods, whole-tree method had the highest. The fourth chapter assesses the perception of forest managers on forest certification. For forest managers, social license to operate was the most important reason for being certified. Many responders embraced adopting region- and stakeholder-specific certification standards. The survey identified several strategies to improve certification programs. The last chapter (fifth) shows LCA of a chip mill, an in-woods chipping operation, a hardwood sawmill, and a softwood sawmill. LCA identified transportation and wood consumed as the most contributing input parameters to environmental impacts. Softwood sawn timber boards (plank) had the highest global warming potential (GWP), and the lowest was for chip mill bark. The influence of transportation on GWP was also explored.

Available for download on Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Share