International Forest Engineering summer school : 20 November to 8 December 2017

May 18, 2017

Technology-based Solutions to Manage Integrated Harvesting and Transport Operations

We are listening to the voice of the customer and slightly realigning our summer school approach:

  • Inclusion of technology-based solutions - every delegate is issued with a tablet loaded with software that will be used throughout the course
  • Realigning the course to also include motor manual operations

This third forest engineering summer school still covers the full scope of harvesting, roads and transport activities. The course targets practitioners (forest managers/experts and contractors), researchers, academics, and equipment manufacturer staff. Attendees will leave the course enriched and competent in understanding the principles of successfully managing the full forest engineering work cycle. We are taking early bird registrations only for the first 5 registrations till 30 August 2017! The early bird registration cost is USD 2 900 (excl. VAT) for the full 3-week package, including all meals, accommodation and class fees. Reduced rate available for shared accommodation (2 persons per room).


Logging timber harvesting
Logging machines at work.


Description of content

Key performance areas are driven by effectively managing the risk of not meeting key performance indicators that we set for our companies. Participants are taught how the 5 key performance areas below can be effectively controlled in the logging working environment. The table below summarizes the five key performance areas of forest engineering that are unpacked in this course:


Safety and health
  • Me
  • Us
  • Them
  • Output/input - Workstudy module - Machine utilisation and efficiency calculations - Machine cost calculations
  • Soil compaction and erosion management
  • Water quality management - Sedimentation - Chemicals (also petroleum products) ? Water temperature
  • Biodiversity (biodiversity management)
  • Log/chip specifications
  • Waste minimisation
  • Presentation of wood
  • Community
  • Public

Software solutions will be used throughout the course to reinforce the theory that has been taught. This includes digital harvesting planning and application of digitally-based assessments of machine operators. Simulators are also used to enhance the learning experience

Innovation, Team Building and Leadership

The course includes a weekend of innovation coaching, team building and leadership - a critical part of being a competent forest engineer in today's fast-paced and high performance environment. This part of the course is done over a weekend in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world. "While there are many different kinds and degrees of psychological responses to wilderness, it has long had a recognized value as a location for renewal of mind and spirit. This rejuvenation is more than what might occur from simply withdrawing or escaping from urban pressures. Awareness of self/vulnerability and self-appraisal are significantly enhanced through a wilderness experience. What makes the wilderness experience unique is the tranquility, peace and silence to be found in the wilderness and the opportunity it affords for contemplation. Nature dominates and there is a relative absence of demands on one's behavior that are artificially generated or human-imposed".


Who should attend

The course is well suited to round off an individual who is working in the field of harvesting in one of a few capacities:

  • A harvesting forester
  • A harvesting specialist within a forestry company
  • A contractor
  • A forest researcher in harvesting and/or transport
  • A forest engineer employed in the academic environment
  • A forestry official working for a Government Department, who has responsibility for harvesting and transport activities in a particular country
  • A forest machine manufacturer/dealer who wishes to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the environment into which he/she is trying to sell their machines.

You will leave with an experience of self-fulfilment and invigorated to tackle your responsibilities in your work environment with confidence and renewed energy, taking back with you many ideas for performance improvement.

Who are the lecturers

Professor Michal Brink, who has over 30 years of forestry experience of which 25 years have been in logging. Michal has experience in corporate forestry, academics, research, contracting, training and consulting. Michal has visited over 80 countries in his 34-year forestry career. 
Andrew Mc Ewan, who has over 20 years' experience in the forestry industry. He has worked for large forestry companies in positions ranging from a forester to a forest engineering technical manager. He is currently a forest engineering lecturer and researcher at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He has travelled widely around the globe. 
Dr Raffaele Spinelli, who works as an applied researcher for the Italian government. He has devoted the last 28 years to studying the optimization of wood harvesting systems, covering a large variety of technologies, work conditions and geographical area (Europe, Americas, Oceania and RSA). Raffaele will particularly focus on work study and biofuel harvesting methods during the summer school.
Janie Brooks, who has been a harvesting machine operator for 6 years before deciding to join CMO as a machine operator instructor. Janie has great competencies in training on both cut-to-length systems as well as tree length systems.
Simon Shackleton has been active in forestry and the forestry machine business since 1979 when he joined a South African private company as a trainee harvesting forester. From there Simon progressed into the sales and marketing of forestry harvesting equipment and also had a three stint as a forestry contractor specializing in the harvesting of eucalyptus in the Lowveld region of South Africa. With Timberjack and John Deere he has had the opportunity to visit every continent of the world apart from Antarctica. In his travels Simon has been able to study different harvesting methods and gained a great amount of experience in the different systems and machines used globally. Simon prides himself in being able to share his knowledge and advise when it comes to applying the right solution for the job. Simon`s current role is General Manager Forestry, Sales & Marketing, Asia-Pacific & Africa for John Deere and is based in Australia.
Gary Olsen has been in the forestry fraternity for nearly 30 years. His working career began in a large forestry company as a harvesting foreman supervising both a ground based and cable harvesting operation. Drawn to the details of the harvesting equipment side of things Gary joined the sales and marketing arm of Bell and then Tigercat Industries Inc. based in Canada. He has more than 16 years of experience in this environment and has and continues to travel extensively to harvesting operations around the world working in a consultative manner seeking out alternative and improved and safer harvesting solutions through mechanisation.

The location

The course is offered at the George Campus of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, in the beautiful Garden Route region of South Africa. Wherever you are, you've most probably heard about the Garden Route in the Western Cape - and rightly so, for this is one of the most magnificent, awe-inspiring stretches of land in South Africa, if not the world. The Garden Route offers you majestic mountains, breath-taking views, a natural garden of rich, colourful vistas, with valleys and lakes, rivers and forests, a paradise for bird-lovers and nature lovers, an eco-destination like few others in the world, with miles upon miles of beautiful, white sandy beaches and a million things to do and explore. It is situated about 400km from Cape Town and is one of South Africa's richest botanical treasures, where you can lose yourself in nature amid the grandeur of giant Yellowwood or Milkwood trees in one of the indigenous forests.




For more information please contact Michal Brink at