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The Log - Issue Three - The good, the bad and the ugly: Loren Kellogg reflects on a year with Program Three

Loren Kellogg portraitLoren Kellogg completed a one-year work program with Program Three in July 2008, and he has been the CRC for Forestry Research Advisor for Program Three since 2005. His impressions on the growth and development of Program Three include (1) a visibly strong connection with the industry and other end users of the research; (2) a healthy range of research projects and other activities that include cutting-edge trials, a mixture of basic and applied research, and software developmental research for harvest productivity assessments and operation planning, and (3) a carefully designed set of research trials for answering immediate questions and for producing a comprehensive database that will clearly contribute toward reduced operating costs and increased product values. Program Three has also developed an impressive line-up of collaboration with other leading international harvesting research organisations and visitors, which has established a strong framework for continually sharing and learning from each other with mutual benefits.

It has been one of my career highlights to have had the opportunity to help shape the current CRC for Forestry Harvesting and Operations Research Program Three. I have worked with this program since the inception including one full year in residence at Hobart and Creswick (July 2007 – July 2008), and more than three years serving as the CRC for Forestry Research Advisor for Program Three. My overall impressions are that there has been a much needed and clearly visible reinvigoration of the harvesting and operations communities in Australia with involvement and enthusiasm for Program Three. The current success with Program Three can be clearly attributed to the people that are leading the way with harvesting and operations research in Australia: Program Manager Mark Brown and researchers Mauricio Acuna, Martin Strandgard, John Wiedemann and Tom Fisk. Their work is not only gaining recognition in Australia, but also internationally.

Let me reinforce the above statements with four brief examples that follow.


  • First, Program Three has strong connections with the industry and other end users of the research in identifying high priority projects, and providing valuable input and support for carrying out the research projects. This will greatly help with future adoption of research results that should easily demonstrate significant economic benefits along with other environmental and social benefits throughout the industry.
  • Second, the Program Three project mix covers a healthy range of topics in the areas of harvesting, transportation, planning, and some critical issue-based research such as biomass utilisation, along with other relevant activities such as practical workshops and courses for sharing experiences and providing new knowledge.  Research projects can be described as a mixture of cutting-edge trials (e.g. retrofitting harvesting equipment with hybrid technology, and new LIDAR applications); basic research (e.g. log measuring accuracy); applied research (e.g. comparison of harvester/processor and feller buncher applications in regrowth commercial thinning); and developmental research (e.g. the logging productivity and costing model: ALPACA).
  • Third, the research projects and field trials are carefully thought out with industry partners and contractors, and they are well designed to collect and report useful and scientifically credible research results. Further, the wide array of research projects provides information to answer important practical questions, but are also being conducted with a uniform protocol throughout different trials in Australia. This is important for being able to build a larger database that will be helpful in answering a broader range of industry questions and identify new opportunities to enhance global competitiveness. These individual trials also contribute to the longer-term development of appropriate industry harvest and operation planning tools such as ALPACA.  It is important that these research results are disseminated in various ways such as short industry reports, workshops, and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Fourth, with limited financial and human resources to carry out the mission of Program Three, the research team does an excellent job leveraging these limited resources by collaborating with other leading international harvesting and operations programs such as FP Innovations in Canada, Oregon State University in the USA, and other organisations in South America, Africa and New Zealand. International visitors—including Ernie Heidersdorf, Glen Murphy (five-month visit starting in February 2009) and myself—have shared our experiences that are relevant to the Australian harvesting and operations industry, and we are also helping to strengthen long-term exchanges of knowledge and experiences.


It has been a pleasure and privilege working with Program Three; and it is very encouraging to see the program develop into something meaningful and substantial.  I am confident that you will see a growing output of significant contributions from Program Three in future years.  I personally look forward to long-term opportunities to stay engaged and provide continuing value with harvesting and operations research, education and training in Australia.