Conducting research into the cost and benefits of RIL is inherently complicated. Each study site has its own peculiarities which are extremely difficult to duplicate.
Forest conditions vary from flat to very broken terrain and tree sizes show a similar variability between tropical forest regions of the world. It has become clear that the more broken the terrain and/or the larger the trees, the less difference there will be between conventional logging and RIL logging.
In addition the logging activities themselves are influenced by a wide range of variables such as:
One of the biggest problems in trying to quantify the costs and benefits of RIL, is the different standards and study methodologies which researchers have applied to this topic. The result of all this variability, is a corresponding lack of uniformity of results in RIL productivity and cost studies.
To-date, one of the most rigorous and definitive studies on RIL costs and benefits, has been the work done through TFF in Brazil. A synopsis of the research results, is available in "Financial Costs and Benefits of Reduced Impact Logging in the Eastern Amazon".
TFF-Indonesia has participated with a number of concession in conducting in-house operational trials intended to give a quick evaluation of the productivity benefits of adopting RIL. Results of such studies will be published in the "RIL & Certification" newsletter from time to time. For the results of a recent study refer to the article "Investigating the Benefits of an RIL System" in the April 2004 issue of the "RIL & Certification Newsletter".