Semi-mechanized planting of saplings: Pivotal results on the efficiency of a new method


  • Marian Schönauer University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Stephan Hoffmann Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy
  • Lorenz Breinig University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Thilo Wagner Wald und Holz NRW, Germany
  • Filippo Guerra Wald und Holz NRW, Germany
  • Dirk Jaeger University of Göttingen, Germany



Large clear-cut areas as a consequence of drought and bark beetle infestations necessitate extensive replanting efforts in German forests, leading to an increased interest in efficient planting systems. In addition to manual planting, mechanized and semi-mechanized systems utilizing surplus forest machine capacities available after completion of salvage logging operations are likely required for timely reforestation of the clear-cut areas. A semi-mechanized system utilizing a standard forwarder with a grapple-actuated soil borer for both, the transport of planting material and the preparation of planting pits, combined with two workers carrying out manual planting, was investigated in a time-and-motion study. The frequency method was used after video recording of a planting operation that covered an area of approximately 1.2 hectares. A total of 815 alder saplings (Alnus glutinosa L.) with heights of 1.2–1.5 m were planted. Observed productivity was 93 saplings per system work hour (SWH). With additional placement of stakes for stabilizing the plants, the productivity decreased to 42 saplings per SWH. While directly comparable results were not found in the literature, available productivity figures of purely manual planting systems do not suggest an increased productivity of this semi-mechanized system. Considering ergonomics, however, forwarder utilization provides reduced workload not only in plant hole preparation but also with material transport and clearing of planting spots. Both the ergonomic aspects of the system and, in particular, the suitability of the soil borer for different soil textures should be further investigated.

Keywords: time studies; forwarder; stand regeneration; windthrow; forest operations 



How to Cite

Schönauer, M., Hoffmann, S., Breinig, L., Wagner, T., Guerra, F., & Jaeger, D. (2024). Semi-mechanized planting of saplings: Pivotal results on the efficiency of a new method. Baltic Forestry, 30(1), id739.



Forest Regeneration