Have you ever wondered where the wood in your floor or your wardrobe came from? It might be from the forest of Mbang or Djoum, in Eastern or Southern Cameroon. We follow the journey of this wood from the forest to the processing plant.
Rougier, a French family-operated company, specialises in wood production and sales. Like all logging companies, and following an invitation to tender, the company was awarded a section of forest to exploit by the Cameroonian government. The area they obtained mainly contains three species of tree: Ayous, Sapelli, and Fraké.
Political and environmental control
The logging trade is highly regulated: trees selected for felling must always be approved by the Ministry of Forests. On average, one to two trees per hectare are felled in order to satisfy
both government and international standards, including FSC (a certification for responsible logging), which Rougier has voluntarily decided to comply with.
Tracing the skid trails
This is where a Komatsu bulldozer (model D85EX-15 or D85ESS-2A) comes into play. It is not a typical bulldozer: it has been set up for logging, which means it has an open cab and ROPS/FOPS. The purpose of the bulldozer is to open up a path that has already been mapped out by the Rougier teams for access to the trees that have been chosen in the sector. Once the path has been traced, the selected trees are cut down. The D85ESS-2A and the hauler(s) go into action to retrieve the trunk.
Harvesting and skidding
Harvesting consists of separating the cut timber (trunk) from its stump and crown to facilitate the removal of the foot (skidding) from the felling area to the log stockpiling area. The D85 can move trunks a distance of 200 metres thanks to its winch, its power, and its handling capabilities. This stage is called skidding.
To the sawmill
Once the trunks have been collected in the log stockpiling area (edge of track), the Komatsu WA470 loader takes over. Its trunk clamp moves the trunks from the roadside to the trucks. With its counterweight, it can move trunks weighing up to 25 tonnes. The trucks then head for the Mbang or Djoum sawmill, where there are more WA470 or WA500 loaders waiting to transfer the trunks arriving from the forest.
WA200: Dual purpose
On arrival at the sawmill, the wood is cut into planks. A WA200 loader, equipped with a quick hitch to change tools, uses a bucket to start clearing up the pieces of bark and the sawdust from the log stockpiling area. This Komatsu WA200 loader, now equipped with forks, moves the packages of sawn wood and loads them into the containers. Most of the wood is then taken to its final destination in these containers.
Planting new trees
Rougier’s work does not end with the sending of wood packages for export. The company has a fully developed corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy. The quantities take from the forest (1 to 2 trees per hectare on average) are such that the forestry capital is preserved. Rougier also has a social policy that benefits its employees and their families (for example, they receive accommodation with free water and electricity) as well as the local population around the sawmill (setting up infrastructures such as schools, dispensaries, and hospitals).
Komatsu forestry equipment used by Rougier in Cameroon
Tracing skid trails: D85EX-15, D85ESS-2A
Harvesting and skidding: D85EX-15, D85ESS-2A
Moving the trunks: WA470, WA500 with trunk clamp
Cleaning the trunks: WA200 equipped with bucket
Moving the pallets: WA200 equipped with forks