Evaluation of roll-off trailers in small-diameter applications
Concern about wildfire in overstocked forests of the western U.S. has led to increased emphasis on extraction of small-diameter material. Removing this material improves forest health, reduces fuel loading, and may generate value that can be used to offset the costs of operation. However, the cost of small-diameter operations (both in-woods and secondary processing) are often prohibitive due to handling and transport. This is a particular problem with small-volume niche markets that cannot absorb the productive capacity of conventional forest products transportation systems. This project studied the performance and costs of an innovative wood transport system using roll-off pallet racks to facilitate handling of small-diameter thinning material. Elemental studies defined the transport cycles and cost analysis compared the economics of the new system with conventional transport technology.