Excavators are commonly used in forest harvesting in Brazil as an option to typical forestry harvesters, mainly because of their lower cost and also because some models are being manufactured locally, which means more units sold, facilitating dealer's support and purchase of parts. Problems with excavators are related to high cost of tracks maintenance and difficulties to operate on steep ground terrain, when compared with wheeled harvesters. This study compared excavators, used as forestry harvesters, with wheeled harvesters to fall Eucalyptus tree plantations located on flat terrain. The productivities of both machines were quite similar, but the higher cost per effective hour of wheeled harvesters, concerned the models utilized in this study, favored the use of excavators, as base machines, to fall trees in a clear-cut system on flat terrain.
harvesting; forestry mechanization