The effect of harvesting system on forest residue production in Fiji
Pacific Island Countries including Fiji have large tract of forest areas and plantation forestry mainly for log production. With the current increases in world oil prices and Fiji’s dependence on oil for its transport and energy sector, Fiji is looking at renewable energy sources from forest biomass to minimise reliance on oil for energy production and also to utilise forest residues arising from annual harvesting operations. Fiji‘s current harvesting system is mainly semi-mechanised with manual felling, delimbing and conversion. Rubber tiered skidders are mainly used for tree hauling from the cut-over areas to the landings although in native forest logging tracked bulldozers are used. Current log supply volume form the forest totals to 300,000 tonnes per annum and is expected to increase to 500,000 tonnes from 2010. Fiji Pine Limited, the owners of the plantations, also see forest biomass sale as a source of revenue especially with the planned increase in log supply volume. Independent power producers will soon be demanding biomass for their renewable energy production. This research will compare conventional with integrated harvesting on Pinus caribaea plantations, establishing production estimates and costs for biomass supply. This research is to be undertaken for a PhD degree at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. The forest residue production research based on commercial harvesting operations will be the first to be conducted for Pacific Island Countries and hence it is hoped the research findings can be widely applied.