Bainbridge Island, WA (PressExposure) January 27, 2012 -- Research from Switzerland holds the key to "more efficient" timber plantations, claims research and analysis consultancy, Forestry Research Associates (FRA).
Seattle-based FRA claims that new research from the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland, has found how to optimise forestry plantations in order to minimise bark growth while maximising log growth and quality.
The main researcher, Nic Meyer, explained that bark emits more harmful substances when burned than the rest of the timber. He told environmentalresearchweb: "In our previous investigations we had found that the emissions from burning bark had sent all of our test instruments into overdrive."
He then found that choosing the right kind of species and spacing the trees out a certain way within a plantation can reduce the amount of bark growth and increase the number of logs a tree can produce.
Using an analysis of spruce and beech plantations in Switzerland, he and research partner Marco Mina, found that certain forestry management techniques, involving thinning crops and carefully timing harvest, for example, could help to reduce bark growth by 20 per cent.
"This could have a major impact on how forestry plantations are managed in the future," claimed FRA's analysis partner Peter Collins. He added, "Any techniques that can minimise bark growth and increase quality timber production must be good for forestry investors."
One of the key findings was that delaying the thinning process until branches had reached between 20cm and 40cm in diameter significantly reduced bark growth. The reduction in bark growth could reduce emissions and costs to countries that specialise in forestry, explained Meyer: "In Switzerland alone, the damage costs from direct emissions from wood combustion activities are estimated to be of the order of 100 million Euro per year."
FRA advocates forestry investment through plantation schemes, such as those run by Greenwood Management in Brazil and Canada.