23 Mar 2014

Technology aimed at safety, cost saving

8:49 am on 23 March 2014

Mechanical tree harvesters used on steep forestry blocs could reduce accidents as well as lowering costs, the Government and industry say.

The Government and forestry industry are investing $6 million to introduce new technology into the forestry sector.

The harvesters, already in use in Hawkes Bay and Nelson, allow trees to be felled from inside a digger rather than by workers outside on steep terrain.

Primary Industries MinisterNathan Guy said the use of the harvesters could improve safety as about 40 percent of forestry accidents happen when workers are out on steep slopes felling trees, or attaching and detaching heavy chains or cables.

Future Forest Research chief executive Russell Dale says costs associated with felling trees on steep land have increased over time and the new equipment should help reduce these as well as lower the number of forestry worker accidents.