The harvesting system used in Raplex FMU will be ground-based harvesting system which involved the use of excavator fitted with a winch to fish out the log from felling site and crawler tractor fitted with a winch to skid logs from logging terraces and skid trails to block landing site in accordance with the reduced impact logging system. Only trees which are equal or bigger than the diameter cutting limits will be extracted. General flow of harvesting operation are;
- Construction of new/existing landing for log storage – Log landing area is designed for temporary storage of logs which will be subsequently transported to Place of Royalty Marking (PoRM). Besides their storage function, they serve to carry out debarking, quality checks, log trimming, tagging and recording, measurement and preparation for loading onto trucks (FDS 2021).
- Construction of new/existing skid trails – Skid trails are temporary roads or trails used by logging equipment to remove logs from a timber stand. The equipment travels on the skid trails bringing the cut trees from where they were cut down to the log landing.
- Directional Tree Felling – Directional tree felling is when a tree is cut according to a pre-determined direction. This is achieved through manipulation of cutting techniques with the help of wedge to achieve the condition of controlled felling direction.
- Log extraction and skidding operation – The management will apply the RIL through the use of long-distance cable-winch excavators to extract logs to logging platform while the tractor skidder remains on skid trails to skid log out to the roadside landing.
Logs transport and Chain-of-Custody (CoC)
Chain-of-Custody is a process of ensuring that a forest product has come from a legal and responsible source. It is a link from planning stage, directional felling, extraction from stump and transportation till Collection and Distribution Centre (CDC).
A. at roadside landing
- Embossing the licensee’s property hammer mark at both ends and the mid-section of the log.
- Affixing a unique pre-approved log production identity (LPI) Coupe & Block Tag to each log. The tag will show the pre-approved serial number, property mark, camp code, coupe number, block number and species code. Details on the implementation of the LPI tagging is based on “DF Circular No. 6/2008 – Plastic Tags for Logs and Pole Size Timber” and “DF Circular No. 1/2014 – Log Production Identity (LPI) Number and Daily Production Return (DPR) Form Part of ‘Statement’ in Rule 22(1) of the Forest Rules”.
B. Log Loading and Transport
Loading the logs onto the truck for transport to the Point of Royalty Marking (PORM) is the final work step at the RIL Block related to log handling. Loading is normally carried out by wheeled log loaders. The LPI number and company IDs and log related information (number of pieces, Block number, species, diameter, length, etc.) are entered into the Transit Pass covering the transport from the Block log landing site to the PORM.
C. Place of Royalty Marking (PoRM)
In accordance with DF Circular No. 1/2016, all Forest Timber Licences are to royalty-assess their forest produce harvested from natural forests at registered place of royalty marking (PoRM) inside their respective licensed areas. Upon the arrival of the logging trucks at the PoRM, the following activities take place:
- Scaling the log and recording the species and measurement details in the daily production return (DPR).
- Grading and sorting of the logs and preparation of the log specification form for both “export” logs and “local processing” logs before the scheduled arrival of the FDS officers from the One-Stop-Compliance-Centre (OSCC).
- Affixing the royalty assessment tag (based on the specification and format as outlined in DF Circular No. 6/2008 on the logs that have been recorded in the log specification form.
- Logs to be royalty assessed are then physically inspected by FDS officers and embossed with the royalty hammer mark at both ends.
- Once the logs have been royalty assessed, they shall be placed in a separate place and segregated from the logs that are not royalty assessed yet.
- The logs that have been royalty assessed are then ready to be transported to the Collection and Distribution Centre (CDC) after the issuance of the Removal Pass (Royalty) and Removal Pass (Transit) by the OSCC of FDS.
Completion of harvesting and post-harvesting activities
The main objectives of post-harvesting activities are:
- To reduce further deterioration of the open spaces due to erosion.
- To ensure that the logged-over forest can recover its environmental values.
The measures to be implemented include:
- Construction of cross-drains at regular intervals along the main skid trails to divert the skid trail runoff into the forest.
- Construction of earth bunds (or half-buried logs) on steep sections of skid trails to avoid gully erosion.
- Removal of domestic waste from temporary camps and landing sites for burial in garbage pits located away from the waterway. Any unusable fuel drums, tanks, oil filters, wire ropes, scheduled waste and other recyclable waste shall be removed from the harvesting block and dispose of at the designated location as per the EIA/DOE requirement.
- Removal of logging debris from the waterways.
- Drainage of stagnant ponds.
- Decommissioning of non-essential logging roads through the construction of earth bunds and cross-drains to prevent illegal entry and hunting.
After the completion of the post-harvesting activities, a final inspection of the harvested blocks shall be conducted before post-logging block inspection by FDS Regional Office for the issuance of the Coupe Clearance Certificate (CCC).