I agree with Ben’s views. In South Africa we have seen progress in the adoption of mechanised silviculture equipment over the past decade and its growing. I would say mainly due to increasing labour costs and labour availability issues. Despite the progress majority of the work is still done manually.
The silviculture working environment is considered relatively “low risk” compared to harvesting. Due to the safety risks associated with harvesting operations, mechanisation was accelerated.
• Seasonality of silviculture activities and the limited economies of scale makes it complex to invest in equipment which cannot be fully utilised.
• Diversity in edaphic factors, species and climatic conditions and many other variable makes it difficult to develop equipment suitable for the global markets.
• Silviculture activities also provide less labour intensive work compared to harvesting which is a better employment opportunity for people in rural areas where forestry is prominent.