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The log - Issue two - Dr Mauricio Acuna

profile_acuna2Dr Mauricio Acuna
Research Fellow

University of Tasmania

CRC for Forestry Research Programme Three: Harvesting and operations



I’ve been working as a Research Fellow for the Harvesting and Operations programme since November 2006, when I moved to Australia from the USA to take up this position.

I’ve been involved in harvesting, roading, and transportation research for more than 14 years. I’m originally from Chile, which is where I started my career in 1994 - with a Bachelor in Forest Engineering - working as a forest research engineer in harvesting and transportation. My next job was in Uruguay as Operations Manager for a Chilean forest company. After more than five years in the private sector, I started exploring options for my future career and decided to take a research and academic path at the University Austral of Chile. My research focus at that time included harvesting and transportation planning and modelling, and environmental impacts of forest roads and harvesting. In 2002, I completed a Masters in Operations Research with the University of Chile, which included study at the University of Toronto, Canada, where I worked on a project related to harvest planning and fire control in boreal forests. I moved to the USA in 2003 to pursue a PhD in Forest Engineering at Oregon State University and I graduated in 2006 with a research project titled “wood properties and near infrared technology to improve optimal bucking and value recovery”.

I strongly believe there are many opportunities to improve the competitiveness of the forest sector in Australia. While working for Programme Three, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with other researchers, managers, contractors and operators. Working at academic, operational and planning levels has broadened my knowledge and understanding of harvesting operations, allowing me to apply my skills to solve problems of a different nature and complexity. Because I come from a country with many bluegum and radiata pine plantations (similar to those found in Australia) I feel I’m well placed to understand the local forest sector, its weakness and strengths, as well as the challenges faced by operational managers.

Over the coming months, I plan to continue leading projects and collecting data from harvesting operations, both in plantations and native forest, which will allow me to complete a model of productivity and costs for the Australian forest sector. I’ll also finish a truck scheduling system, which I hope to implement with some forest companies during the course of this year. I’ll continue disseminating findings from the research trials to partners, participating in educational programmes, and presenting this work both at national and international conferences.


Mauricio Acuna
Tel: +61 3 6226 7927

Mobile: 0448 372 340

Private Bag 12
Hobart, Tasmania 7001