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Efficient Lumber Production in the Selva Maya
by Cesar Rolando Arceo Manrique
January 20, 2009
The chainsaw is often thought to have revolutionized lumber production during the 1980s and '90s, but in many respects it simply led to more of the same inefficiencies and overharvesting. In the absence of any local tradition or training in machinery operation or maintenance, the free-hand cutting practices that evolved over decades of producing hand-hewn lumber has only exacerbated the quality-control problems faced by local producers. The excessive wood waste that results from wandering, free-hand chainsaw cuts translates into a material loss of as much as thirty-five percent, which comes directly out of producers' pockets. By using a chainsaw guide and specially modified saw teeth, target dimensions can be achieved with only a nominal planing allowance and the smoother boards can be cleaned up with many fewer passes through the planer. This adds up to less labor, less electricity, fewer sharpenings and reduced wear and tear on both equipment and workers. On a larger scale, the sum of these quality-control measures-getting more boards out of each log, producing more furniture and less sawdust-is making a meaningful contribution to sustainable development in the Selva Maya. Read on...!
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