When is a harvest due?


Ethical Forestry pineapples pallets

When it comes to harvesting, there’s no one size fits all.

The harvesting process, far from being set in stone, is an organic one. To put it simply, we provide each investor with a bespoke recommendation for when their trees are ready for harvesting, thereby tailoring harvesting times to their trees’ natural development. It’s all about offering choice and achieving maximum yields for each investor rather than tying them to prescribed harvesting deadlines.

When you consider that our 13 plantations are spaced throughout Costa Rica’s 51,100 square kilometres, this tailored approach comes into perspective. Whilst one investor’s plot may be located in the Province of Guanacaste, another may sit 111km east in the Province of Alejuela. With such varying locations, each plot has its own soil characteristics. These factors can affect the growth rate of an investor’s trees, so rather than guess when they are ready, our Forestry Engineers take specific measurements, which are put through complex algorithms back at Ethical Forestry’s Costa Rican head office.

Specifically, the overall height and Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) are recorded. These dimensions, together with the area of the plot, help calculate the stand density, which can then be compared to the
Stand Density Index (SDI) as seen below. SDI is an expression of relative stand density based on the predictable relationship between average tree size and trees per given area. This relationship, independent of both stand age and site quality, helps us understand the competitive interactions
between your individual trees within your plot, which factors in when we recommend a harvest.

The software that carries out these complex algorithms also takes into account the species, measurements, planting densities and decades of historical data. From this combined data, we can then calculate how many trees we recommend should be harvested in order to bring the stand density to an ideal level. Our Forestry Technicians take this information and, with the investor’s authorisation, they mark the trees destined for harvest and leave the rest to continue growing.

This is just one example of how we’re constantly striving to use the very latest technology and silvicultural practices to achieve maximum returns for each investor. This ethos of working innovatively and efficiently continues throughout our operations, from our bespoke nurseries right through to our timber mill, kilns and head office. Every facet of our business is constantly being fine tuned, and this evolution will continue in line with industry developments and best practices.

Carrying out such meticulous operations is the best way to help secure strong sales routes for our investor’s with Melina. As an incredibly versatile and popular wood species, Melina is suitable for a variety of products. Being lightweight yet strong, its creamy-white ‘clean’ appearance makes it the number one choice for pallet industry. One of the sales routes for the first harvest is pallet production for the food export industry.

We were kindly invited to Empaques Bellavista’s operations to photograph their pineapple production process. Below, you can see the sorting and cleaning of the pineapples before being loaded onto Ethical Forestry pallets. Our design division makes Bellavista’s pallets with their box style in mind. This involves using different dimensions and spacing between the top deck boards so that the gaps line up with the openings in the bottom of the box. Not only is this good for Bellavista’s pallet continuity, it also optimises ventilation and keeps the product as fresh as possible.

Because our manufacturing division, EF Timber Exports, provides all elements of the pallet manufacturing process, we’re able to customise our pallets to fit virtually any client’s specification, making them highly versatile. With Costa Rica producing over 5.6 million pallets last year alone, it’s essential our pallet production is at the top of its game.
With our strategic harvesting process, highly efficient timber mill and expert sales division, our operations have just one end in mind – to help each investor achieve maximum yields and returns.

We’ll keep you up-to-date with all our exciting changes and successes in our upcoming digital newsletters. In the meantime, for those of you who are due a harvest in 2015, this exciting harvesting process is about to come into its own. Watch this space!