Special Issue "Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Economics, Policy, and Social Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Stefano Grigolato
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento Territorio e Sistemi Agro-Forestali, Università degli Studi di Padova, Viale dell'Università 16, 35020 Legnaro PD, Italy
Interests: forest mechanizations; forest and rular roads and forest and rural area accessibility; production processing for forest biomass and forest wood biofuels
Dr. Kevin Boston
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, USA
Interests: optimization; simulation; modeling; rivers; linear programming; geotechnical engineering; mathematical programming; forest management; scheduling; heuristics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forest roads have a key role in forest management and in ensuring access for activities such as recreational activities, rescue and forest fires, and forest health interventions.

The building of new forest roads and the re-design of existing forest roads can be complex because the location, design, construction, and maintenance variables must be included in the decision process. Therefore, optimal road network planning, road alignment, and road design remains a challenge.

Consequently, the use of innovative analysis methods and the increasing availability of high-resolution data, together with the traditional survey methods, can significantly contribute to the planning, design, and management of forest roads.

This Special Issue will include manuscripts that describe new methods to plan, construct, and maintain forest roads. The papers will address at least one of the following issues: economic efficiency, improved environmental performance, or improvements in road safety. Applications of advanced remote sensing to collect data, or policy for the management of forest roads are welcome.

These questions are reflected in the topics listed below. We invite submissions for a Special Issue of Forests on the subject of “Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks”. Topics for submissions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Forest road planning;
  • Forest road construction;
  • Forest road maintenance;
  • New technologies including remote sensing applied to forest road planning, design, and maintenance;
  • Optimum road spacing and optimum road density;
  • Decision-making and problem-solving apply to the development of the forest road network;
  • Ecological effect of forest roads;
  • Forest road and soil erosion;
  • Forest road drainage systems;
  • Forest road decommissioning;
  • Construction and maintenance costs;
  • Forest road network and landscape.

Prof. Grigolato Stefano
Dr. Kevin Boston
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • road network
  • planning
  • construction
  • maintenance
  • transportation
  • forest engineering
  • cost control

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessCommunication
Forest Roads and Operational Wildfire Response Planning
Forests 2021, 12(2), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020110 - 20 Jan 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
Supporting wildfire management activities is frequently identified as a benefit of forest roads. As such, there is a growing body of research into forest road planning, construction, and maintenance to improve fire surveillance, prevention, access, and control operations. Of interest here is how [...] Read more.
Supporting wildfire management activities is frequently identified as a benefit of forest roads. As such, there is a growing body of research into forest road planning, construction, and maintenance to improve fire surveillance, prevention, access, and control operations. Of interest here is how road networks directly support fire control operations, and how managers incorporate that information into pre-season assessment and planning. In this communication we briefly review and illustrate how forest roads relate to recent advances in operationally focused wildfire decision support. We focus on two interrelated products used on the National Forest System and adjacent lands throughout the western USA: potential wildland fire operational delineations (PODs) and potential control locations (PCLs). We use real-world examples from the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado, USA to contextualize these concepts and illustrate how fire analytics and local fire managers both identified roads as primary control features. Specifically, distance to road was identified as the most important predictor variable in the PCL boosted regression model, and 82% of manager-identified POD boundaries aligned with roads. Lastly, we discuss recommendations for future research, emphasizing roles for enhanced decision support and empirical analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Increased Salvage Felling on Forwarding Distance and the Removal—A Case Study from Croatia
Forests 2021, 12(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010007 - 23 Dec 2020
Viewed by 344
Abstract
During the seven-year research period, the average annual removal was by 3274 m3 higher than the average annual removal prescribed by the existing management plan (MP). The main reason lies in the high amount of salvage felling volume at 55,238 m3 [...] Read more.
During the seven-year research period, the average annual removal was by 3274 m3 higher than the average annual removal prescribed by the existing management plan (MP). The main reason lies in the high amount of salvage felling volume at 55,238 m3 (38.3%) in both the main and the intermediate felling due to oak dieback. The analysis of forest accessibility took into account the spatial distribution of cutblocks (with ongoing felling operations) and the volume of felled timber for two proposed factors: (1) the position of the cutblock and (2) the position of the removal. Cutblock position factor took into account the spatial position of the felling areas/sites, while removal position factor besides the spatial reference took into account the amount of felled timber (i.e., volume) both concerning forest infrastructure network and forest operations. The analysed relative forest openness by using geo-processing workflows in GIS environment showed four types of opening areas in the studied management unit (MU): single-opened, multiple-opened, unopened and opened areas outside of the management unit. Negative effects of the piece-volume law and low harvesting densities on forest operations are highlighted in this research due to high amount of salvage felling particularly in the intermediate felling by replacing timber volume that should have come from thinnings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Aggregate Degradation in Forest Roads in Northwest Oregon
Forests 2020, 11(7), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11070729 - 03 Jul 2020
Viewed by 613
Abstract
In the Pacific Northwest, forest roads have the potential to cause significant environmental degradation, especially to water resources due to increased sediment production. The goal of this research is to improve the understanding of road degradation during hauling by improving our understanding of [...] Read more.
In the Pacific Northwest, forest roads have the potential to cause significant environmental degradation, especially to water resources due to increased sediment production. The goal of this research is to improve the understanding of road degradation during hauling by improving our understanding of the aggregate degradation process. We correlate the wear rates to standard material property tests that may allow for improved prediction of the impacts from forest roads based on the selection of aggregate surfacing. Finally, we determine the changes in stress distribution between the subgrade and aggregate interface. High-, medium-, and low-quality aggregates were used from three quarries in western Oregon for this project. These aggregates are indicative of the range of materials used on forest roads in the region. Two material property tests, namely the Los Angeles (LA) abrasion and micro-Deval tests, were used to determine their ability to predict aggregate performance during hauling by relating values for aggregate wear to these aggregate properties. Eighteen nonwoven geotextile bags were created, measuring 60 cm (two-feet long) and 20 cm (eight inches) in diameter, with a pore size equivalent to a 0.149 mm (# 100) sieve. They were filled with a known quantity and particle size distribution of aggregate and embedded into a newly constructed forest road. Stress gages were installed in the road surface between the aggregate and subgrade levels to record the changes in stress at the subgrade level. Samples were subjected to three levels of traffic (500, 950, and 1500 passes) using a loaded dump-truck that had a steering axle and one tandem drive axle, weighing 25,038 kg or 55,200 lb. The results showed that less breakage occurred with the medium- and high-quality aggregates than the low-quality aggregate. There was a correlation between the material property test (either the micro-Deval or the LA abrasion test) and the fine index, indicating the predictability of these tests in terms of aggregate performance. Finally, the higher quality aggregate was able to better distribute the stresses from the wheel better than the lower quality aggregate and was able to reduce the stress reaching the subgrade. Although the results are limited to the three types of rock used in this study, they indicate the ability of the high-quality aggregate to lessen the environmental impacts from forest roads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
Log Truck Value Analysis from Increased Rail Usage
Forests 2020, 11(6), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060677 - 12 Jun 2020
Viewed by 727
Abstract
Over the past several decades, the transportation of raw materials (logs) has increasingly shifted from the railway to trucks. However, the long-term sustainability of this shift is being questioned due to the shortage of truck drivers, fluctuation of fuel prices, and changes in [...] Read more.
Over the past several decades, the transportation of raw materials (logs) has increasingly shifted from the railway to trucks. However, the long-term sustainability of this shift is being questioned due to the shortage of truck drivers, fluctuation of fuel prices, and changes in hours of service laws. The industry is interested in the possibility to shift more logs back to the railway but the impact of such a shift on truckers has not been investigated. This study attempted to quantify the impact of such a change on the operations of log truckers by calculating time efficiency (percentage of daily hours of service for revenue activities) and value efficiency (average loaded versus total ton-kilometers per day) between a truck only and multimodal (truck/rail) alternatives. We used actual data from the forest products industry companies and truck performance data from an earlier study to investigate the impact through case studies in four different locations of the upper Midwest, US. The results of our analysis revealed that in three out of our four case studies, re-routing log movements through rail yard/siding improved the time efficiency and value efficiency. Finally, our sensitivity analysis found that increases in average truck speed and maximum hours or service had higher impact on multimodal transportation than in truck-only system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
Forest Roads from the Perspective of Managerial Accounting—Empirical Evidence from Austria
Forests 2020, 11(4), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11040378 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
State-of-the-art forest management requires an adequate opening-up in terms of forest roads. In addition to the increased efficiency of harvesting operations, a higher road density may trigger other positive and negative side-effects. Austria has a long tradition of forestry, and also of monitoring [...] Read more.
State-of-the-art forest management requires an adequate opening-up in terms of forest roads. In addition to the increased efficiency of harvesting operations, a higher road density may trigger other positive and negative side-effects. Austria has a long tradition of forestry, and also of monitoring the economic performance of forest enterprises by means of forest accountancy data networks. Using these almost unique preconditions, this research paper approaches the topic of forest roads from a managerial accounting perspective. Based on a specially designed report, the results for the fiscal years 2008–2017 were investigated. On average, Austrian forest enterprises larger than 500 ha report a road density of 50.5 m/ha. The yearly net cost of forest roads, including depreciation and reduction of revenue, is 32.4 €/ha. The pure maintenance cost amounts to 27.9 €/ha on average. The annual investment in forest roads accounts for 9.4 €/ha. Whereas the enterprises’ average annual cost of maintenance is 0.63 €/m, the actual maintenance cost of forest roads is 5.6 €/m. To cover the ongoing costs of maintenance, 12.1% of the allowable annual cut is needed. Grouping the analyzed enterprises according to different attributes, namely size of forest land, production conditions, coherence of estate, average slope, and share of forest land requiring cable yarding, showed some statistically significant differences in the maintenance costs of forest roads. In almost all of the tested groupings, significant differences of maintenance costs (expressed as €/ha, €/m3 felling volume, or €/m) were found. However, an initially expected significant correlation between road density and harvesting cost could not be established. The challenges brought about by the trend towards a bioeconomy on the one hand and climate change on the other most likely further enhance the significance of the opening-up of forests and the efficiency of road maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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Open AccessCommunication
Comparisons of Estimated Circuity Factor of Forest Roads with Different Vertical Heights in Mountainous Areas, Republic of Korea
Forests 2019, 10(12), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10121147 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 673
Abstract
Distance is one of the important factors in determining transportation cost and travel time, and it can be easily estimated by measuring the circuity of road networks. This study calculated the circuity factors to estimate the network distance for 27 forest roads (about [...] Read more.
Distance is one of the important factors in determining transportation cost and travel time, and it can be easily estimated by measuring the circuity of road networks. This study calculated the circuity factors to estimate the network distance for 27 forest roads (about 105 km) in South Korea. For this purpose, ridge, mid-slope, and valley roads were classified according to the construction location of the mountain slope, and the weighted and unweighted circuity factor (each 500-m section) were calculated. The average value of weighted circuity was 1.55: mid-slope roads (2.09), ridge roads (1.36), and valley roads (1.09). The average unweighted circuity factors were 1.61 for mid-slope roads, 1.21 for ridge roads, and 1.07 for valley roads. This study found that the circuity of the forest road network was most affected by the mountain terrain. In addition, the circuity factor increased with increasing network distance in the mid-slope roads but was not affected by the network distance in ridges and valleys. To improve the efficiency of transportation in the forest road network, it is important to locate the ladings and properly connect with the public road network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
An Approach for Modeling and Quantifying Traffic-Induced Processes and Changes in Forest Road Aggregate Particle-Size Distributions
Forests 2019, 10(9), 769; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090769 - 04 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
Forest road aggregate changes due to traffic. The physical processes that cause these aggregate changes need to be understood for more effective road management that can help reduce maintenance costs and efforts, and negative environmental impacts of forest roads. This study modeled three [...] Read more.
Forest road aggregate changes due to traffic. The physical processes that cause these aggregate changes need to be understood for more effective road management that can help reduce maintenance costs and efforts, and negative environmental impacts of forest roads. This study modeled three processes that could change the particle size distribution (PSD) of forest road aggregate: crushing (breaking down the surfacing material), subgrade mixing (moving upward of fine-grained, roadbed sediment), and sweeping (migration of loose aggregate particles to the shoulder and roadside by tire action). There are two types of sweeping: sweeping-out (dislodging large-size particles from tire tracks) and sweeping-in (accumulating large-size particles near the roadside and shoulder). Our study modeled the expected traffic-induced processes based on theoretical concepts and literature to examine how these processes change forest road aggregate PSD. Then the modeled results were compared with the observed PSDs from cross-sectional locations where traffic-induced processes likely occurred. Based on these comparisons, we enhanced the modeling and inferred how much the crushing, subgrade mixing, and sweeping-in processes changed the PSDs, but could not infer the sweeping-out process due to the difficulty in separating the sweeping-out from crushing. This study demonstrates that the traffic-induced processes could be modeled and quantified using the following assumptions: crushing was estimated by assuming a half logarithmic normal distribution with a mean of the crushed particle diameter and higher crushing rates for large-size particles; subgrade mixing was estimated by assuming the move-in of fine-grained subgrade soils from the road bed; and sweeping-in was estimated by assuming the move-in of large-size particles with a logarithmic normal distribution. Our modeling approach can offer insights on how traffic-induced processes affect road aggregate under various road and traffic conditions. This information can be useful in developing cost-effective road maintenance strategies and implementation plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Horizontal Accuracy, Shape Similarity and Cost of Three Different Road Mapping Techniques
Forests 2019, 10(5), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050452 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 994
Abstract
Accurate spatial information on forest roads is important for forest management and harvest operations. This study evaluated the positional accuracy, shape similarity, and cost of three mapping techniques: GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) mapping, CAD file conversion (as-built drawing), and image warping. We [...] Read more.
Accurate spatial information on forest roads is important for forest management and harvest operations. This study evaluated the positional accuracy, shape similarity, and cost of three mapping techniques: GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) mapping, CAD file conversion (as-built drawing), and image warping. We chose five road routes within the national forest road system in the Republic of Korea and made digital road maps using each technique. We then compared map accuracy to reference maps made from field surveys. The mapping and field-survey results were compared using point-correspondence, buffering analysis, shape index, and turning function methods. The comparisons indicate that GNSS mapping is the best technique because it generated the highest accuracy (Root Mean Square Error: GNSS mapping 1.28, image warping 7.13, CAD file conversion 13.35), the narrowest buffering width for 95% of the routes overlapped (buffering width: GNSS mapping 1.5 m, image warping 18 m, CAD file conversion 24 m), highest shape similarity (shape index: GNSS mapping 19.6–28.9, image warping 7.2–10.8, CAD file conversion 6.5–7.4), and smallest area size difference in turning function analysis (GNSS mapping 2814–4949, image warping 7972–26,256, CAD file conversion 8661–27,845). However, GNSS requires more time (236 min/km) and costs more ($139.64/km) to produce a digital road map as compared to CAD file conversion (99 min/km and $40.90/km) and image warping (180 min/km and $81.84/km). Managers must decide on the trade-off between accuracy and cost while considering the demand and purpose of maps. GNSS mapping can be used for small-scale mapping or short-haul routes that require a small error range. Image warping was the lowest cost and produced low-accuracy maps, but may be suitable for large-scale mapping at the regional or national level. CAD file conversion was expected to be the most accurate method, because it converted as-built drawings to a map. However, we found that it was the least accurate method, indicating low accuracy of the as-built drawings. Efforts should be made to improve the accuracy of the as-built drawings in Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Design, and Maintenance of Forest Road Networks)
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