Forest engineering is an application of engineering principles to the maintenance of trees, water, soil, and other natural resources within the forest ecosystem. Forest engineer has the responsibility to construct roads and bridges by focusing on balancing economic, sociocultural, and environmental needs including harvesting operations. Forest engineers can work with other foresters and forest managers in making environmental decisions, supervising workers, and providing technical advice during outdoor operations. But, during indoor operations, they focus on analyzing data such as topographical/geographical data, estimating budgets for materials, equipment, and labor, designing road plans, conducting studies, and assessing potential project impact. Furthermore, designing construction sites in forests is an important responsibility of forest engineers. Because an insubstantial structure or poor construction design may cause casualties, and damage to machinery and bring forth negative impacts on the environment. Additionally, forest engineers are also required to design equipment that is environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and fulfills safety standards.
Materials, Equipment and Measurement Tool Used by Forest Engineering
Structural materials are very important in order to increase the effectiveness of construction purposes that lead to well-managed forest areas. Important structural materials, in forest engineering, include wood, bricks, cement, etc. Wood helps in framing the house, bridge, and drainage structure. Bricks and cement as materials are essential components for the development of the concrete structure.
Bulldozers are used for shallow digging and ditching, short-distance material transportation, spreading soil dumped from trucks, rough grading, tree, stump, and boulder removal, and cleaning and leveling in the forest area. The blower is used for blowing the leaves and clearing debris on forest roads. Blowers have three main functions: heating, cooling, and airflow. Although unit designs may vary from simple to complex, most blowers are made up of fan-like apparatus. To move air and gases, some blowers employ pressure pumps. Warm/hot air is directed into cooler areas for cooling purposes.
Chainsaws (Figure 1), GPS (Figure 2), clinometer (Figure 3), diameter tape (Figure 4), and maps (Figure 5) are also considered important tools in forest engineering. A chainsaw is a portable gasoline, electric/battery-powered saw with a set of teeth attached to a rotating chain driven along a guide bar. Chainsaw is normally used in tree felling, liming, bucking, pruning, cutting firebreaks in wildland fire suppression, and firewood harvesting.
GPS is a satellite positioning system that uses a network of satellites to continuously transmit coded data. Receivers can use the information transmitted by the satellites to precisely identify locations on Earth by measuring distances from the satellites. GPS also acts as navigator.
A clinometer is used for measuring the angle of the slope, elevation, and depression of the object. However, a clinometer is used to measure the tree height. Also, it can be used in the field of meteorology, the same as in the field of forestry and surveying.
Diameter tape is very flexible and easy to handle. It is used to measure the diameter of the tree and to measure the distance between the two objects.
On the construction site, the primary objective is to survey the location and develop maps. Maps provide information about the world in a straightforward and visual format. A map can help in displaying geographical data such as country size, shapes, slope angle, feature locations, and distances between locations. Therefore, maps can depict the distribution of objects on Earth, such as settlement patterns, potential roads, and water supply routes.
Building Structure Used and Made by Forest Engineering
Building: Storage and Roads
Forest engineers provide a complete residing facility for the log workers so they could maintain their work quality. Among the facilities that need to be provided are; storage to store logging equipment, a logging pond and food stock.
Roads are the main pathway to access the log ponds. Usually, for skidder roads, gravel is preferable to access the log pond but cannot be accessed frequently due to safety factors. However, for heavy transportation through the bridge to main log pond or factory, it is necessary to build roads using asphalt, and concrete and provide steel dividers and road lamps for safety.
Building: Water Supply and Drainage
Water supply is an important factor, especially in dryland areas. Plants can absorb the available water supply and reduce the competition between trees and crops. One of the ideas to manage forests during drought is by creating a tank that fits into the category of riparian. Water tanks can be developed by using machinery or selecting a natural forest pond that has the potential to act as long-term forest water storage. Forest engineers do include the designs to plant trees around the riparian zone to maintain the ecology and habitat that is useful for forest restoration, further plantation around riparian water tanks helps to store the water during hot weather.
The water drainage system is considered as a riparian zone that is important to provide a well-managed water flow to the forest area. For better drainage system, forest engineering can be implemented in afforested areas on large scale to control the water flow. The Culvert technique in forest engineering is important for water drainage. This technique provides continuous water to the forested area and it’s also helpful in floods during rainy seasons. That’s why forest drainage systems must be well-planned to decrease floods.