SA Forestry’s 2021 Annual printed edition has been published. This 80-page glossy publication covers the forestry industry from seedling to mill, and includes reviews of the year in forestry as well as analysis, trends and innovation in the industry that provides the primary raw materials for countless downstream processors and manufacturers.
Highlights of the publication include:-
Forestry South Africa’s take on surviving and thriving in a tough 2021.
The latest B-BBEE transformation stats for the forest sector.
The Cape sawlog pinch – explaining the chronic shortage of sawlogs in the Cape.
Business profiles on NCT Forest’s champion commercial and small-scale tree farmers of the year.
Use of drones taking off in forestry research and management applications.
The switch to paper pots transforms the way commercial trees are propagated in nurseries and planted out.
Forestry and the carbon economy – a guide to how forestry can benefit from fixing carbon and fighting climate change.
The magic of trees explores the role trees play in religion, in history, in economic development, in the environment, in our lives.
Fire investigation case study … who lit the match?
Forestry company tackles water stewardship at a landscape level.
Forestry’s role in kickstarting rural economic development.
Spotlight on forestry equipment and service providers.
Copies of the SA Forestry 2021 Annual are available for sale for just R175 – it includes the cost of mailing. Payment details are on our subscription page HERE.
You can also download a PDF version of the Annual HERE.
For subscription enquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Solutions for thinnings
Growing a productive forest requires hard work and commitment. Correctly timed thinning improves the forest’s growth conditions and makes trees grow sturdier more quickly. Thinning supports forest biodiversity when part of the forest is always in the growth phase.
“Thinning can also be called improvement felling, as it ensures the productivity of the forest, and the high quality and health of trees,” says Tuomo Moilanen, forest specialist at Ponsse. “The better a forest grows, the better it sequesters carbon. Thinning ensures that trees can be processed into high-quality products that sequester carbon for dozens or even hundreds of years,” says Moilanen.
In cut-to-length (CTL) harvesting, trees are already processed up to the intended length in the forest, enabling thinning to be ecological. When the harvester operator plans trails so that they can also be driven by the forwarder, trees can be both felled and transported without needing to move around unnecessarily in the forest.
“At thinning sites, the distance between trails is roughly 20 metres, and trees remaining by the side of the trail will grow in Finnish conditions 20–25 % more quickly, because they will have room to grow, both above and below,” Moilanen says.
Most premium forestry equipment manufacturers have machines designed to handle thinning operations in different conditions. One of these is the Finnish-based Ponsse. These machines are distributed and supported in South Africa by MTS Parts, based in Piet Retief in Mpumalanga.
The six-wheeled PONSSE Beaver and the eight-wheeled PONSSE Fox are ideal solutions for first thinning. PONSSE Fox is an excellent choice, especially when operating in soft terrain. High-flotation tracks should be selected as optional equipment for softer terrain to prevent surface damage.
At heavier thinning sites, the PONSSE Cobra and Scorpion harvesters, combined with the H5 or H6 harvester head, are the best choices in terms of productivity. In PONSSE Scorpion, the unobstructed visibility in all directions, together with cabin and crane levelling, makes working smooth even at dense thinning sites. As eight-wheeler machines, both models are also excellent in soft terrain.
While Elk and Wisent are the most popular PONSSE forwarders for thinning sites, Buffalo is also a good choice, especially when distances are longer, and the aim is to improve productivity. The forwarder can easily pick up trees from thinning sites when trails are properly protected (with branches) and as straight as possible; the fewer sharp bends there are, the less surface damage is caused.
At thinning sites, the harvester head should be selected according to the dominant tree species. However, it should be considered that damaged trees and other trees in poor condition must also be removed from thinning sites, calling for sawing and feed force from the harvester head. The harvester head must be reliable at thinning sites because a large number of trees are produced quickly during each shift.
At thinning sites, much rests on the forest machine operator – the operator decides what trees are removed and what are left standing. The forest owner hands over their assets to a professional forest machine operator to receive the highest possible profit, also in the future.
During September Ponsse organized an online event where customers and specialists explained more about solutions for thinning sites.
Watch the web event here...
Bell on the move with JCB, haulage tractors
Bell Equipment has updated their haulage tractors, withdrawn from the John Deere dealership and acquired the JCB dealership.
After four years of development and testing the new Bell Series V Haulage Tractor has rolled off the production line.
“This latest version of an old stalwart is our best ever,” commented Bell’s Product Marketing Manager for Forestry and Sugar, Ettienne Terblanche.
The Bell haulage tractors have been around for 45 years. The designers have acted on customer feedback to build on the original by updating the drivetrain to deliver best performance and productivity benefits, and ultimately lowest cost per tonne.
The new series comprises four models, the 1406A, 1406AF, 1736A and 1736A, all designated according to engine power and whether the machine is a 2WD (A) or 4WD (AF) configuration. Together they provide solutions for a wide range of operating requirements.
“Across the range we’ve reintroduced the well proven John Deere 6,8l engine, to deliver more grunt than our outgoing series. Farmers love the John Deere engine and we’re confident that this latest turbocharged, common rail diesel powerplant and a superior cooling package will meet and exceed customer expectations. Feedback we’ve received on our prototype units that have operated in South Africa and several neighbouring countries all indicate that the fuel economy of our Series V Tractor is the most economical in its class,” said Ettienne.
The engine is available in two power ranges,140HP (104kW) and 173HP (129kW) and achieves the Tier 3 emissions certification without the need for a complex exhaust gas recirculation system.
“The engine and transmission work so well together,” says Ettienne. “The transmission is electronically controlled and features the latest hardware and software to deliver exceptional comfort and fuel efficiency. The minimal torque interruption in the transmission allows the tractor to pull away smoothly and without loss of inertia through the gears even when towing a full ‘cane train’. In addition, we have introduced Bell Traction Control as a standard feature on the 4x4 configuration. These tractors normally run in 4x2 but when the system identifies wheelspin in poor underfoot conditions it automatically switches to 4x4. The operator can also manually select 4x4 on the dashboard.
“We’ve upgraded the braking system to increase stopping power by about 15% over the previous series,” explains Ettienne.
The cab has been redesigned with increased space for the trainer seat, a comfortable flat floor and a standard HVAC system. The internal panels are custom moulded with ABS thermoplastic to enhance the luxurious feel of the cab. For improved reliability, standalone switches have been incorporated into a single, sealed switch module (SSM), which includes transmission control on the 1736A and AF.
“The fabricated steel chassis, heavy duty rear axle and hitch positioning ahead of the axle centre line - for improved steering and traction when trailers are fully loaded - have all been retained along with key safety features, such as the ROPS/FOPS certified cab and pneumatic trailer braking,” continues Ettienne.
The bonnet opens upwards to 70 degrees to provide excellent access for servicing, maintenance and daily checks.
“The Bell Haulage Tractor has been around for 45 years and has been trusted by thousands of owners to carry out the toughest haulage work. With our Series V we have been inspired by what our customers want, and we are proud to carry on this proud pedigree while offering our customers improvements over our previous generations,” he concludes.
JCB dealership Meanwhile Bell Equipment has been appointed as a JCB dealer in South Africa, and no longer represents John Deere.
JCB provides Bell with diversity and strength in the local market, according to Bell Equipment Marketing and Alliance Partner Manager, Stephen McNeill.
“JCB is a strong, well respected brand in South Africa. They have been selling machines into the market for over 40 years and have an extremely high machine population in the country. JCB and Bell share many similarities and values, and our partnership has clear benefits for both companies. In terms of our own benefits, we see potential for increasing machine sales volumes in some of our key product lines.
“Due to challenges in the market, we are seeing a gradual move away from premium European built machines and JCB provides us with solutions to satisfy both requirements, as well as opportunities to ‘compare and share’ in different areas such as dealer management.”
Bell is selling a wide range of JCB products including backhoe loaders, wheel loaders, excavators and rollers.
JCB also provides Bell with an opportunity to sell telescopic handlers and skid steer loaders for the first time.
While Bell is no longer a dealer for John Deere forestry equipment and will soon handover distribution rights for Bomag machines, Bell will continue its partnerships with Japanese excavator manufacturer, Kobelco, and mobile crushing and screening specialist, Finlay.
McNeill explains: “It has been agreed by all parties that the JCB and Kobelco Excavators will be sold alongside one another in the South African market. The larger Kobelco excavators are important to our ADT business as they give us ideally matched machines for our large ADTs in mining and quarrying applications, and they’ve been well accepted in the forestry and construction industries. We believe that there is a place for both ranges; it enables us to offer the widest range on the market and give our customers the best choice.”
Commenting on the implementation of the JCB arrangement, he concludes: “Our goal was to make the move to the JCB product line as smooth and seamless as possible for customers. Although the introduction has had its teething issues, I believe this has largely been achieved. A great deal of resources and effort has gone into ensuring adequate parts inventory and machine stock holding as well as making sure our sales and support staff are full trained and versed to handle the new product range.”
CMO to market certified forest products via global trading platform
The South African-based CMO Group has secured investment from venture capital fund E4E Africa to grow its forest-based operations and establish a global trading platform for certified forest products.
“The funding will be used to further enhance the company’s existing software, as well as to build a trading platform to provide market access for responsibly produced forest products in the mainstream global market, especially in the northern hemisphere,” says Michal Brink, CEO and founder of the CMO Group.
Michal says that the main driver of the development is to create and guarantee supply chain security all along the value chain. To achieve this goal the CMO model hinges on three pillars: • The establishment of Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certified Group Schemes using its in-house developed PerForm software – enabling digital management and auditing of forest operators, with the emphasis on small to medium growers who have been largely excluded from the certification process, as a result of complexity and cost. • Providing technical support services such as training and consulting to FSC certified Group Schemes and forestry companies and using this expertise to beef up technical compliance of CMO Group Schemes. • The development of an online, worldwide trading portal for FSC certified forest products, named IcePik.
Michal said that the CMO team has been innovating and researching in this field for many years. He said the funding from E4E Africa presents a great opportunity to secure critical market access for sustainably produced forest products, and a means to introduce small forest producers to international markets.
“CMO has the full support of the FSC International Center GmbH in Bonn, as well as other key stakeholders including the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) and the Namibian Charcoal Association (NCA).”
The trading platform will be launched in Namibia and South Africa in the last quarter of this year, focussing initially on sales of FSC certified charcoal. Michal said that commodities traded across IcePik would expand to include a wide range of forest products derived from sustainably managed forests, including roundlogs, lumber, treated poles, chips for pulp as well as non-forest products.”
According to Bas Hochstenbach, co-founder and partner at E4E Africa, the partnership hinges on the fact that CMO is a South African company with real intellectual property that is operating in a huge global industry. E4E Africa has taken a 10% stake in CMO.
Bas added that the group scheme certification methodology and trading platform create access to global markets for sustainable forestry products for parties like smallholder farmers and smaller processors – parties that traditionally had difficulty fulfilling the administrative requirements of FSC certification, disqualifying them to trade on the more lucrative markets where certification is required.
“CMO touches many aspects: significant environmental impact due to sustainable production processes and social impact through job creation, better worker conditions and a higher price for the small producer through direct access to international markets.
“CMO is a great example of the type of businesses that we seek to invest in: entrepreneurial teams leveraging technology to address real societal challenges at scale, combining a highly scalable business model with a high impact,” he said.
CMO has positioned itself to set up group certification schemes in 44 countries over the next five years, whilst selling the FSC certified products through IcePik across the globe. CMO’s FSC group scheme has certified around 35 forestry operations in South Africa, the majority of which are small-scale tree farmers operating on communal land.
AfrEquip moves to new premises
South African-based forestry equipment supplier AfrEquip has relocated their head office to a bigger, new facility in Pietermaritzburg.
“Over the past few years, AfrEquip has continued to invest heavily in parts, and our old premises were bursting at the seams,” said John du Toit, AfrEquip’s managing director.
“We searched for the right spot to house our main support location and found a property virtually around the corner in the same suburb,” said John.
“The facility required significant alterations to meet our requirements. We built a new workshop to house equipment for delivery inspections, and we added a new floor to the parts facility to safely house our significant parts holding. This new facility is just another tool for us to offer world-class support to our customer base.”
The new workshop can fit four big forestry machines, two more than the previous facility. It has also received the thumbs up from AfrEquip’s technical manager, John Barbour.
AfrEquip supplies and supports a range of forestry equipment in South Africa including Tigercat, Logmax, Morbark and Gierkink. The company has five branches in key forestry regions: Pietermaritzburg and Richards Bay (both in KwaZulu-Natal) Mbombela (Nelspruit) and Mkhondo (Piet Retief) in Mpumalanga, and Ugie in the Eastern Cape.