2018 Annual Meeting Summary

The Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation hosted the 41 Annual Council on Forest Engineering Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia at the Williamsburg Lodge in Colonial Williamsburg July 15-18, 2018.  The meeting was co-chaired by Drs. Chad Bolding and Scott Barrett with the theme Revolutionary Traditions, Innovative Industries.  Meeting attendance was approximately 70 from 7 countries (Brazil, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, and U.S.) and 21 U.S. states.  The meeting began with a Sunday night icebreaker reception followed by Monday general sessions, a Tuesday field trip, and Wednesday concurrent technical sessions. 

General session topics included: 1) Innovations in Machine Design, Efficiency, and Safety, and 2) Global Forest Engineering Innovations.  Invited industrial speakers included: Chris Harwood, John Deere; Mike Duncan, Caterpillar; and Steve Jones, Peterson Pacific.  Invited global innovations speakers included: Dr. Kris Brown, New Zealand; Dr. Luc Lebel, Canada; Dr. Lars Eliasson, Sweden; Dr. Raffaele Spinelli, Italy; and Mr. Angelo Moura, Brazil.  Sixteen students were also in attendance representing Laval University – Canada, Auburn University, Virginia Tech, University of Georgia, Northern Arizona University, University of Montana, West Virginia University, and the University of Stellenbosch – South Africa.  Concurrent technical session topics included: The Role of Forest Operations, Supply Chain Efficiency, Operational Efficiency, Forest Roads and Site Impacts, The Logging Workforce, Biomass, Harvesting Productivity and Costs, andTrucking and Transportation.  Of the 53 presentations, 16 papers will be peer-reviewed and edited into a special issue of the International Journal of Forest Engineering entitled: “Forest Engineering Innovations and Advancements” that will be published in 2019.         

Meeting attendees not only got up to date information on forest engineering research and innovations globally but also enjoyed a Colonial themed dinner at King’s Arms Tavern on Monday evening.  A full day field trip on Tuesday included stops at the Enviva Biomass Northampton pellet mill in Garysburg, NC, a BBQ lunch and awards ceremony at the Franklin Business Center in Franklin, VA, and visits to both Southeast Fiber Supply and Jerry D. Rose Logging to observe high production in-woods chipping of both hardwood and softwood species.

COFE presented the 2018 Student Communication Award to Patrick Grove for his paper entitled: “Timber Theft: Financial Impacts and Prevention in the U.S. South”.  The Operator Award was presented to Davis Rose of Southeast Fiber Supply who is a core supplier of microchips to the local Enviva Biomass pellet facilities.

Special thanks are extended to our sponsors: Enviva Biomass, Fibria Cellulose, Huber Engineered Woods, Council on Forest Engineering, John Deere, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, and IUFRO for their support of the meeting.