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  • Cost & Benefits

    Financial Costs and Benefits of Reduced Impact Logging in the Eastern Amazon

    Analysis by :
    Thomas P. Holmes, Geoffrey M. Blate, Johan C. Zweede, Rodrigo Pereira Jr., Paulo Barreto, Frederick Boltz and Roberto Bauch.

    Download PDF version of this analysis : Click here

    Reduced Impact Logging in Tropical Forests

     
       
           
           

    Logging in the tropics, as conventionally practiced, depletes timber stocks and causes severe ecological damage to residual forests. Reduced impact logging (RIL) systems are currently being developed in Brazil and other countries in response to concerns over the ecological and economic sustainability of harvesting natural tropical forest stands. RIL systems use an array of best harvesting techniques that reduce damage to residual forests, create fewer roads and skid trails, reduce soil disturbance and erosion, protect water quality, mitigate fire risk and potentially help maintain regeneration and protect biological diversity.

    Little is known about the financial aspects of RIL, and existing evidence in Latin America is inconclusive. However, existing data suggest that RIL can be more profitable than conventional logging (CL) in some situations. Defining the set of conditions that favor the financial aspects of RIL is important because educating loggers of this fact will motivate them to alter their practices (loggers’ self-interest). This may protect ecological services in logged tropical forests while providing jobs and income for local economies. RIL systems are an integral part of forest certification initiatives and may provide a low-cost option for maintaining carbon sinks and forest conservation benefits. If sustainable forestry is to hold promise as an option, ecological impacts of timber harvesting need to be mitigated using economically competitive technology.

    In addition to financial impacts, RIL systems can provide other industrial benefits. RIL procedures reduce the volume of timber wasted in harvesting operations, thereby increasing the volume of timber supplied from a fixed resource base. Pre-harvest inventories of standing timber provide a marketing advantage to landowners and mills which can establish forward contracts with buyers based on delivery of known volumes for specific species. Inventory control also helps eliminate low prices and degradation associated with products that sit in mill yards because buyers cannot be found. Careful tree felling and machine use increases worker safety which should result in lower insurance rates and a more secure workforce.

    RIL techniques and guidelines are not fixed prescriptions, but adapt best harvesting techniques to existing biophysical and economic conditions. The FAO model codeof forest harvesting provides the basis for RIL system design and typically includes many or all of the following activities :

    • pre-harvest inventory and mapping of trees
    • pre-harvest planning of roads and skidtrails
    • pre-harvest vine cutting
    • directional felling
    • cutting stumps low to the ground
    • efficient utilization of felled trunks
    • constructing roads and skid trails of optimum width
    • winching of logs to planned skid trails
    • constructing landings of optimal size
    • minimizing ground disturbance and slash management.

     

    Model Sites in the Brazilian Amazon

    For the past several years, the Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF) and its Brazilian subsidiary Fundação Floresta Tropical (FFT) have developed and implemented operational RIL models at various locations throughout the Brazilian Amazon and trained forestry personnel in RIL methods. Between 1995 and 1997, FFT established several 100 ha harvesting blocks at Fazenda Cauaxi situated southwest of Paragominas in the state of Para. Most of the wood processed in Paragominas is marketed domestically and about 8% of the processed volume is exported. Access to domestic markets permits 40 - 50 tree species to be harvested in this location.

    Reduced impact logging operations incur costs that are not incurred by CL operations. Between six to twelve months before harvesting, RIL crews inventory the harvest area and cut vines connected to potential harvest trees. Using the inventory, maps are generated, harvest trees are selected, skid trails are laid out and potentially valuable trees for the subsequent harvest are identified. In contrast, CL harvesting is not planned but proceeds using a “hit or miss” approach where the timber feller works with an assistant, a “tree hunter”, to help identify harvestable trees. Timber fellers in CL operations are typically paid on a piece rate that encourages rapid felling of trees, often of species and sizes or with defects that the mill will not accept. Felling in CL operations has little regard for impacts on the residual stand.

    Skidding crews operate independently from felling crews and are not provided with precise information regarding location of felled trees. The search for logs results in an inefficient use of labor and machine time and causes significant damage to the residual stand, forest soils and skidding equipment.

    The analysis presented here is a summary of a detailed technical report that provides a comparison of the costs and revenues of a typical, large-scale RIL system relative to a typical, large scale CL system in the Paragominas timbershed. The study focuses on the financial, operational, and technical aspects of RIL vs. CL systems. Although the study does not address biological or ecological questions directly, measurements were made of key parameters affecting future forest productivity. These parameters represent future benefits of using RIL systems.

     

    What Was Learned

    At Fazenda Cauaxi, the initial harvest averaged 25 m3 (4 to 6 trees) per hectare from the harvesting blocks. Pre- and post-harvest inventories showed that RIL activities were effective in reducing the amount of wood wasted in the forest and on the log deck relative to the CL operation (Figure 1). Wood wasted in the CL operation represented about 24% of the initial harvest volume, compared to only 8% in the RIL operation. More careful bucking of logs using RIL techniques increased recovered volume by about 1.1 m3 per hectare relative to CL techniques. In the RIL operations, better coordination between felling and skidding crews increased recovered volume by about 0.9 m3 per hectare. More careful tree selection by RIL crews (in terms of size, species and defect) resulted in a decrease of about 1.4 m3 per hectare in the volume of logs that were harvested but never utilized by the mill. Logging causes damage to the residual stand of trees. By cutting vines, directionally felling trees and planning the layout of roads and skid trails in RIL operations, damage to commercially valuable trees in the residual stand can be greatly reduced.

       

    As shown in Figure 2, the RIL system reduced the rate at which trees in the residual stand were fatally damaged. For every 100 trees felled on the CL block, 38 trees (commercial or potentially commercial, greater than 35 cm dbh and with good form) were fatally damaged, compared to only 17 trees in the RIL block. Also, damaged future crop trees in the residual stand were recovering at nearly twice the rate on the RIL block than on the CL block. These results suggest that economic and ecological benefits provided by the residual stand will be greater on the RIL block.

     

     

    Logging disturbs forest soils through the operation of heavy equipment. The amount of ground area disturbed on the CL block was nearly twice the ground area disturbed by RIL operations. Although part of this was due to the higher harvesting intensity on the CL block, the ground area disturbed per tree harvested was about 60% greater on the CL relative to the RIL block. Heavy equipment disturbed about 10% of the ground area in the CL block and about 5% of the ground area in the RIL block.

    A comparison of the cost of typical, large scale RIL and CL operations in the Paragominas timbershed is shown in Figure 3. RIL planning and infrastructure activities increased “up-front” costs incurred before harvest by about 170% over CL operations. Felling and bucking costs were also larger for RIL activities because of the extra effort required for directional felling and increased product recovery. However, efficiency gains due to planning typical RIL operations were large. First, skidding and log deck productivity increased dramatically for the typical RIL operation and led to a 37% reduction in cost relative to the CL operation. Second, better recovery of potential merchantable volume on the typical RIL site reduced direct cost associated with waste by 78% and reduced stumpage cost by 16%. Overall, cost per cubic meter associated with a typical RIL system in this timbershed was estimated to be 12% less than the cost of a typical CL system.

     

    Conclusions

    The major conclusion of the analysis was that reduced impact logging can be financially more profitable than conventional logging. This implies that the economic self interest of loggers can help mitigate the loss of ecological services in some tropical forests subject to logging pressure.

    Reduced impact logging techniques greatly decreased the damage to trees in the residual stand, the amount of ground area disturbed by machinery and the volume of wood residues left in the forest. Future economic and ecological benefits provided by logged forests will likely be greater where RIL techniques are used.

    Finally, a word of caution is due. Tropical forests are heterogeneous and the markets for production inputs and outputs vary. The conclusions of this study do not necessarily apply to other timbersheds in the Amazon basin or elsewhere.

     

     

    The current demand for formal training in RIL methods by both large landowners and the Brazilian Federal Environmental Institute (IBAMA) suggests that further research and operational testing are needed. These would evaluate how variations in forest type, input and output markets and size of logging operation affect optimal design and performance of RIL systems. The identification of suitable conditions are in the loggers’ self-interest, and can help mitigate the loss of ecological services in forests subject to logging pressure. This will help sustainable tropical forest management become a reality.

    Conventional logging   Conventional Logging

    Harvesting is not planned but uses a “hit or miss” approach. Timber fellers have little regard for the residual stand, and their search for logs is inefficient.

         
     

    Reduced Impact Logging

    Techniques greatly decrease the damage to trees in the residual stand, the amount of ground area disturbed by machinery, and the volume of wood residues left in the forest.

     

    Tropical Forest Foundation

    The Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF) is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical forests through sustainable forestry. TFF has become widely recognized for establishing demonstration models and training to show the advantages and teach the principles of sustainable forest management through the application of Reduced Impact Logging practices. The Foundation’s Board of Directors include leaders from industry, government, science, academia and conservation organizations. TFF currently has programs in Brazil, Guyana S.A., Indonesia and the Asia Pacific region.

    For a complete copy of the report Financial Costs and Benefits of Reduced-Impact Logging in the Eastern Amazon, please contact :

    Tropical Forest Foundation
    225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 770
    Alexandria VA, 22314 Phone (703) 518-8834 Fax (703) 518-8974
    E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    www.tropicalforestfoundation.org

    or

    Tropical Forest Foundation - Indonesia

    Kompleks Cimanggu Permai

    Jl. Tumapel Blok O-IV, No. 17

    Bogor - 16164

    I N D O N E S I A
    Phone (62-251) 8317-338
    E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    www.tff-indonesia.org

    The report can also be downloaded from the CIFOR (www.cifor.org) or the USDA Forest Service International Programs (www.fs.fed.us/global) websites.

  • Cost & Benefits

    Cost & Benefits - english

  • Forestry

    Forestry - english

  • ITTO

    ITTO - Project Publication - english

  • ITTO Project Publication

     

    Brochure : “Program to Facilitate and Promote the Adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) in Indonesia and the Asia Pacific Region”. To download PDF version Click here.

         
    RIL Workshop Proceedings  

    Proceeding of a Workshop on Reduced Impact Logging, “Implikasi Praktis Pengelolaan Hutan Lestari : Pengalaman dari Lapangan”, 2003. Editor : Muhandis Natadiwirya, Irsyal Yasman, Ruslandi, Aldrianto Priadjati This is a collection of papers and presentations of a one day workshop on RIL sponsored by TFF and APHI in August 2003 as precursor for ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I). (hardcopy avaible in Bahasa Indonesia).

         
     

    Proceeding of a Regional Workshop “RIL Implementation in Indonesia with Reference to Asia-Pacific Region : Review and Experience”, 2006. A compendium of papers presented at a regional workshop on RIL held in Bogor, Indonesia on February 15 – 16, 2006 as an output of ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I). Available in English only. To download PDF version Click here.

         
    ITTO Project Completion Report  

    Completion Report of ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I), Program to Facilitate and Promote Adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) in Indonesia and the Asia-pacific Region, August 2006. Reports and CD of project documents (available in English only. To download PDF version Click here.

         
     

    “Pembalakan Ramah Lingkungan : Konsep dan Implementasi di Indonesia” (Reduced Impact Logging – Concept and Implementation in Indonesia), March 2007. by Agung Nugroho, Hari Priyadi, Hasbillah, Petrus Gunarso, Rahardjo Benyamin. (Available in bahasa Indonesia only).

         
     

    This CD-ROM contains all outputs from the ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I), Program to Facilitate and Promote Adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) in Indonesia and the Asia-pacific Region. Including five RIL manuals, nine RIL & Certification Newsletters, all of it available in bahasa Indonesia and English. Also three photo albums, Completion Report and Workshop Proceedings.

         
  • ITTO Project Publication

     

    Brochure : “Program to Facilitate and Promote the Adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) in Indonesia and the Asia Pacific Region”. To download PDF version Click here.

         
    RIL Workshop Proceedings  

    Proceeding of a Workshop on Reduced Impact Logging, “Implikasi Praktis Pengelolaan Hutan Lestari : Pengalaman dari Lapangan”, 2003. Editor : Muhandis Natadiwirya, Irsyal Yasman, Ruslandi, Aldrianto Priadjati This is a collection of papers and presentations of a one day workshop on RIL sponsored by TFF and APHI in August 2003 as precursor for ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I). (hardcopy avaible in Bahasa Indonesia).

         
     

    Proceeding of a Regional Workshop “RIL Implementation in Indonesia with Reference to Asia-Pacific Region : Review and Experience”, 2006. A compendium of papers presented at a regional workshop on RIL held in Bogor, Indonesia on February 15 – 16, 2006 as an output of ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I). Available in English only. To download PDF version Click here.

         
    ITTO Project Completion Report  

    Completion Report of ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I), Program to Facilitate and Promote Adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) in Indonesia and the Asia-pacific Region, August 2006. Reports and CD of project documents (available in English only. To download PDF version Click here.

         
     

    “Pembalakan Ramah Lingkungan : Konsep dan Implementasi di Indonesia” (Reduced Impact Logging – Concept and Implementation in Indonesia), March 2007. by Agung Nugroho, Hari Priyadi, Hasbillah, Petrus Gunarso, Rahardjo Benyamin. (Available in bahasa Indonesia only).

         
     

    This CD-ROM contains all outputs from the ITTO Project PD 110 / 01 Rev. 4(I), Program to Facilitate and Promote Adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) in Indonesia and the Asia-pacific Region. Including five RIL manuals, nine RIL & Certification Newsletters, all of it available in bahasa Indonesia and English. Also three photo albums, Completion Report and Workshop Proceedings.

         
  • Kehutanan

    Kehutanan - indonesia

  • Librari

    Librari - english

  • Newsletter - RIL & Certification

    Newsletter - english

  • Photo Album

    Photo Album - english

  • Project Publication

    Project Publication - english

  • RIL & Certification Newsletter

    About RIL & Certification Newsletter

    The RIL & Certification Newsletter is a publication of the Tropical Forest Foundation funded by the ITTO with assistance from the Association of Indonesian Forest Concessionaires. The Newsletter is intended to stimulate thought and action leading to the adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) and sustainable forest management. Articles on RIL, Sustainable Forestry, and Forest Certification, are welcomed. This newsletter is circulated at the discretion of TFF. If you want to be certain to receive future copies of this newsletter, contact us to have your name added to the mailing list. Articles, ideas, and news items should be submitted to :

    Tropical Forest Foundation

    Manggala Wanabakti, Blk. IV, 3rd Floor, Wing B, Room 317B
    Jl. Jend. Gatot Subroto, Senayan,
    Jakarta - 10270
    Tel. (62 21) 573-5589; Fax (62 21) 579 02925
    e-mail : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Click on selected edition of the RIL & Certification Newsletter :

    RIL & Certification Newsletter E d i t i o n
    April 2013 - English
    December 2011 - English
    July 2011 - English
    October 2010 - English
    September 2008 - English
    September 2007 - English
    September 2006 - English
    May 2006 - English
    February 2006 - English
    October 2005 - English
    March 2005 - English
    December 2004 - English
    July 2004 - English
    April 2004 - English
    July 2003 - English



  • RIL Manuals

    RIL Manuals - english

  • Technical Procedure Manuals

    Five Technical Procedures Manuals

    Technical Procedures for topographic Forest Survey and Tree Mapping

    Technical Procedures for Topographic Forest Survey and Tree Mapping  

    The Tropical Forest Foundation announces the publication of the "Technical Procedures for Topographic Forest Survey and Tree Mapping".

     

    DownloadEnglish Version or Indonesian Version.

     

    This is the first in a series of five planned technical manuals designed to assist the forest management practitioner, in implementing the various components of Reduced Impact Logging. This is a detailed guide on “how to …” carry out topographic surveys and includes equally detailed descriptions on how to process the resulting data and produce operational scale contour and tree position maps. Procedures described in this manual are modeled on the 100% inventory requirements under the Indonesian TPTI silviculture and forest administration system. Copies of this booklet are available in Bahasa Indonesia and English, from the Tropical Forest Foundation.

         

    Planning Considerations for Reduced Impact Logging

     

    The second in a series of technical procedures manuals on Reduced Impact Logging (RIL). The publication, “Planning Considerations for Reduced Impact Logging”, is a simple guide to help the forest manager, supervisor, or technician, to understand the planning considerations necessary to begin the implementation of RIL harvesting practices.

     

    DownloadEnglish Version or Indonesian Version.

     

    The 59 page booklet takes the reader through a background discussion of the general framework for RIL planning and covers basic technical considerations necessary for effective planning. The booklet then describes the process of developing a simple RIL plan using an easy-to-follow, step-wise approach. Planning Considerations for Reduced Impact Logging, begins where the previous booklet, Technical Procedures for Topographic Forest Surveys and Tree Mapping ends. Three more publications concerning different aspects of RIL implementation are now under preparation. Publication of this series of RIL Procedures Manuals is being funded by the ITTO Project, "Program to Facilitate and Promote Adoption of Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) in Indonesia and the Asia Pacific Region". Copies of both procedures manuals are available in English and Bahasa Indonesia from the Tropical Forest Foundation.

         

    Operational Consideration for Reduced Impact Logging

    Operational Consideration for Reduced Impact Logging  

    The Tropical Forest Foundation announces the publication of the “Operational Consideration for Reduced Impact Logging”. This is the third in a series of five planned technical manuals designed to assist the forest management practitioner.

     

    DownloadEnglish Version or Indonesian Version.

         

    Planning, Location, Survey, Construction & Maintenance for Low-Impact Forest Roads

    Planning, Location, Survey, Construction & Maintenance for Low-Impact Forest Roads  

    The Tropical Forest Foundation announces the publication of the “Planning, Location, Survey, Construction & Maintenance for Low-Impact Forest Roads”. This is the fourth in a series of five planned technical manuals designed to assist the forest management practitioner.

     

    DownloadEnglish Version or Indonesian Version.

         

    Management Consideration for Reduced Impact Logging

    Management Consideration for Reduced Impact Logging  

    The Tropical Forest Foundation announces the publication of the “Management Consideration for Reduced Impact Logging”. This is the fifth in a series of five planned technical manuals designed to assist the forest management practitioner.

     

    DownloadEnglish Version or Indonesian Version.

  • Timber Industry

    Timber Industry - english