ABOUT LOGGING

20 Jul

I told you in an earlier post that I would follow up on issues about having a logger come in and thin out the pine plantation. Without much thought, I figured it would go like this … look up a guy under “loggers” in the yellow pages, call him up, tell him to take out every second row, and he pays for the privilege. Easy-peasy.

Not so fast, little lady!
We need to find a logger who will use careful logging practices (CLP), including a range of techniques and practices to minimize damage to the forest, soil, wildlife habitat and water. Examples of CLPs include directional felling of trees, erosion control measures on skid trails, tree protection for wildlife and the establishment of buffers near water. if we are not careful and don’t get the right company and provide oversight, we could end up with a mess.

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The following are excerpts from http://basineducation.uwex.edu/woodland/contract.htm regarding the need for a strong contract and oversight when hiring a logger.
“While it is essentially impossible to harvest trees without some level of damage to some of the remaining trees, it is important to minimize damage, both to the number of trees damaged and the extent of damage to any individual tree. Some strategies for controlling damage involve a fee schedule that fines a contractor for each tree damaged. Typically these fee systems are graduated based on the economic potential of the damaged tree. Another common strategy is to set a threshold for an acceptable number of damaged trees and any damage in excess of that threshold would cause a contract to default. For both of these systems, it may be important to define exactly what damage is in the contract. Under any circumstances, working closely with the logging contractor and clear communication of your concern regarding damage will help minimize logging damage to your woodland.”

“A common mechanism for minimizing compaction is to restrict the abundance of skid trails across a site. Skid trails are the travel routes that logging equipment use to move around a stand. Some specifications on skid trail layout can be outlined in a logging contract, but, at the very least, a logging contract should specify a maximum skid trail width and a minimum distance between skid trails.”

All we want to do is break even and have an area left behind that is healthier than before it was logged. So perhaps the question we need to ask the forestry consultant is:
We would only be thinning out the pine plantation for the health of the trees. Will the logging operation accomplish that?

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If you are interested in more info on this subject, there is a very good booklet called the landowners guide to careful logging that can be found here. It is over 80 pages long, that might give you a hint that there is a bit more to our little timber harvest than meets the eye.

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