The Steepland Harvesting programme invested in technologies to improve productivity and worker safety when harvesting on steep slopes.
Programme start: November 2010
Programme end: June 2017
Total programme cost: $7.6 million
Crown funding: $3.7 million
Estimated economic benefits to NZ: $113 million per year by 2019
Commercial partners: Forest Growers Research Ltd
- Commercialised 7 new harvesting products, including:
- the ClimbMAX harvester, a winch-assisted machine that can operate safely on steep slopes of up to 45 degrees
- systems for operating forestry harvesting machines remotely, providing safer working conditions.
- Prototypes of 7 products, including a robotic tree-to-tree felling machine that doesn’t touch the ground.
- Encouraged innovation in mechanised harvesting systems across the forest industry (over $80 million invested by industry since 2012).
- Approximately 165 workers removed from hazardous tree felling and breaking out roles.
- Reduced cable harvesting costs by 17%.
For more information about the programme's achievements, check the final and post-programme reports.
Outcome logic model
- Outcome logic model for Steepland Harvesting [PDF, 465 KB]
Final programme reports
- Steepland Harvesting – Final report [PDF, 1.1 MB]
- Steepland Harvesting – Commercialisation review summary report [PDF, 1.4 MB]
- Steepland Harvesting – Post-programme report [PDF, 989 KB]
Background to the programme
The New Zealand forestry sector and the Ministry for Primary Industries identified steep-country harvesting as an important bottleneck to increasing forestry profitability and worker safety.
The Steepland Harvesting solution
Forest Growers Research brought together research providers, forest owners, and tree harvest companies on a programme to enable safe, efficient harvesting of commercial forestry on steep marginal land.
The programme aimed to:
- reduce steepland harvesting costs by 25%
- grow harvest machinery manufacturing in New Zealand to future-proof the sector
- make harvesting jobs safer.
The centrepiece of the programme was the development of a steep slope, feller–buncher machine which can operate safely and efficiently on steep slopes without endangering workers.
Audit and progress reports
- Audit – Steepland Harvesting [PDF, 197 KB]
- Progress review summary report - Steepland Harvesting [PDF, 1022 KB]
- Quarterly progress report summaries