Assessment of load and quality of logging residues from clear-felling areas in Järvselja: a case study from Southeast Estonia

Abstract

The properties of biomass-based fuel and combustion tests showed that logging residues are promising renewable energy sources. The data used in this study were collected from four clear-felling areas in Järvselja Training and Experimental Forest Centre, Southeast Estonia in 2013–2014. Logging was carried out by harvesters in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] Karst.), silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) and black alder (Alnus glutinosa L. Gaertn.) dominated stands with a small admixture of other tree species according to the cut-to-length method and logging residues were placed in heaps. The aim of this research is to assess different characteristics of logging residues (quantity, moisture content, energetic potential, ash content and amount) in clear-felling areas. The highest load of slash was measured on the birch dominated study site, where the dry weight of the logging residues was 29 t ha−1. Only the branch fraction moisture content on the black alder dominated site (35.4%) was clearly different from respective values on other sites (21.6–25.4%). The highest calorific value of the residues was assessed with the residues from the birch dominated site, where in moist sample it was 365 GJ ha−1 and in dry matter 585 GJ ha−1. The heating value of the fresh residues is highest in coniferous trees. The highest ash content in branch segments was registered for the black alder dominated site. Järvselja data indicate higher quality in conifer dominated sites, yet a higher load of logging residues in broadleaf dominated stands.

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