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Malwa equipped to handle bark beetle

The dry summer of 2018 led to major damage by the European spruce bark beetle in Sweden. This year risks a repeat. That is why Swedish forest machine manufacturer Malwa AB is exhibiting a harvester equipped to handle bark beetle trees with large stems at the upcoming SkogsElmia tradeshow June 6-8 in Sweden.

Malwa will showcase a harvester equipped to handle spruce bark beetle damaged trees with large stems at the upcoming SkogsElmia tradeshow June 6-8 in Sweden.

The most efficient methods of fighting this highly damaging insect is to quickly remove windfall trees from the forest and to fell risk-prone stands as a preventive measure. But this can also result in the necessity of felling healthy trees.

With our comparatively small harvester, you don’t have to fell other trees in the way first, said Magnus Wallin, founder of Malwa.

Harvesting pine plantations

The company has found its own niche with small harvesters and forwarders for professional contractors. Private forest owners wanting to reduce ground damage are the main source of the demand for this type of machine. More and more contractors are responding, and exports are also growing, though for other reasons.

For example, we’ve sold harvesters to a pine plantation in South Africa. With a smaller harvester they don’t have to thin every fifth row to give larger machines the space to operate. The result is more large-dimensioned stems and greater yield per hectare explained Magnus Wallin.

Focus on bark beetles

With a machine turnover time of 22 years, there are clear forces driving people to choose more and smaller harvesters. Even from South America, there is interest in small, professional harvesters for use in the rain forest which is being recreated, to remove trees that would otherwise suffocate those selected to grow tall and large stemmed.

In Sweden, the big issues are soil compaction and vehicle ground damage, but there is also a growing interest in achieving more yield per hectare. This may become even more topical if and when self-driving forwarders come to market. In agriculture, which has advanced farther, the debate is more focused on using self-driving machines that are smaller than the current ones, and to use more of them.

In the shorter term, though, the infestation of the spruce bark beetle is a more important issue at SkogsElmia. Malwa is showing visitors how to use modern technology to localise infected trees and is demonstrating a harvester that reduces the need to fell trees for an access route – thereby saving healthy trees for the future.

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