Logging Equipment and Processes Part 1

john deere log skidder in action
All timber harvesting operations are not created equal. There is a wide degree of diversity in the methods, equipment and work-flow employed by loggers to harvest timber. Each of these methods have benefits and costs to both the landowner, logging company and the forest ecosystem. While it is impossible to say that one method or another is superior to all of the others, a little education goes a long way in deciding which logging process is right for your standing timber.

Various Logging Equipment and the Consequences

The width of roads and paths utilized to harvest your timber will be directly related to the size of the equipment used by the logging company. Further, things such as whether the equipment has wheels or tracks, cable-wenches or grapples will also have a direct impact on the condition your timber land is left in.
  • While some logging companies are concerned entirely with speed and efficiency, Timber Works works hard to achieve an efficient logging campaign while treating your woods and land with respect and care. Regardless of the logging method employed to harvest a stand of timber, periodic logging is an integral part to sound forest management and does not need to occur at the cost of ecological health.
    • Felling: Cutting trees at the stump
    • Processing: Removing branches and limbs and cutting the stem into appropriate lengths
    • Extraction: Moving logs from the woods to a landing site
    • Loading: Loading logs or chips onto a truck
    • Hauling: Delivering loaded forest products to the mill
While the methods and processes of logging varies, there is a number of standard machines that appear on most jobs. Included among this equipment is: 1. Grapple Skidder: A machine that drags whole trees or whole tree stems from the forest floor to a landing site. 2. Cable Skidder: Cable skidders drag whole trees or tree stems from the forest floor using a heavy-duty rear mounted wench. 3. Chippers: Not all logging companies employ chippers, but those that do use them to process limbs or whole trees into uniform wood chips that are sold to mills or further processes into mulch. 4. Delimber: Located at the landing, delimbers are used in commercial logging processes to de-imb whole trees prior to further processing. 5. Slasher (not pictured): Sometimes known as buck saws, slashers automatically cut tree stems into appropriate lengths for loading and hauling. 6. Logging Truck: A vehicle designed for the transportation of logs and other forest products. Vehicles may be equipped with a hydraulic loader and additional trailer. The equipment and processes utilized in the logging application chosen for your standing timber can mean a lot for how your woods is left when the logging company leaves—a logging company will only leave a footprint as big as their equipment. Of course for logging methods such as clear cutting, this will be of little consequence to the finished product, the result from other, less invasive styles of logging, will be directly influenced by the equipment used by the logging company. The second installment of this series will go into further detail about these differences while helping to inform you, the land owner, of the various outcomes from logging activity available to you including the differences between clear cutting, selective harvesting, tree length removal and other nuances that are often not fully explained to a land owner prior to beginning a timber harvest.

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