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Horses in forestry

Silver fir planting and timber hauling

Sensitive soils impose limits on conventional forestry methods. Alongside the use of big machines, working with horses is an alternative management form that is used in extreme locations within forests.

At the "Wald und Holz-Meile", the Interessensgemeinschaft Zugpferde e.V. (draught horse interest group) will be demonstrating the practical use of horses in silver fir planting and timber hauling. It will be presenting innovative horse hauling technology which is adapted to the forest and its special planting sites.

Silver fir planting

Soil cultivation with horses during planting contributes extensively to soil protection. Ground-protecting soil cultivation using special soil tillage implements can also be undertaken in the forest to introduce natural regeneration or to prepare for sowing or planting.

 

Timber hauling

The extent of vehicle operations on forest floors can be significantly reduced with the planned use of hauling horses in timber harvesting. On an economic basis, this offers forest owners interesting options for not using vehicles on more than 10% of the forest floor during forest management in the long term. Thanks to the staggered Interessensgemeinschaft Zugpferde e.V. (IGZ) procedure for timber hauling using the Cologne and Wittgenstein method, vehicle use is reduced to final mechanical hauling. Starting with motorised manual felling, supported by felling mini-tractor winches such as Pauline/Moritz from Pfanzelt, the timber is made ready for hauling according to the felling sequence. 

The hauling horses take the timber to the skid road according to the machines' requirements, usually completely divorced from felling and also mechanical hauling. This means that, as the final link, the inventories are only driven via roads for final hauling. The individual time point for this usage via the skid roads can be optimally defined under consideration of weathering resistances.

Despite the production requirements in these processes, decoupling the first two work steps from the machine technology leads to enormous benefits for soil protection.

The separate performance of the first two work processes without large-scale forestry technology ensures maximum soil protection despite production requirements for process implementation. With the Cologne and Wittgenstein procedure, the IGZ will be presenting precisely those methods with which numerous forest owners have their forests successfully harvested every year. Both the professional provision by the hauling horses in the Wittgenstein method and the enormous power of the animals in the Cologne method will be impressively demonstrated to visitors at the DLG-Waldtage. However, the appeal of hauling horses will not only become clear in terms of economic aspects; the skill, the sovereignty and the versatility of such helpers in forestry will also be presented by the IGZ.