Sustainable Forests and Practicing Selective Logging

Smart Loggers maintain sustainable forests by practicing selective logging. Timber is a renewable resource. This fact makes forest timber products one of the greenest materials available. Why not go one step farther and harvest timber in such a way that is conducive to its replenishment?

Does that mean planting a tree for every tree we cut down?

Maybe, but the forest itself does a pretty good job reseeding as long as we leave some parent trees to do the job. This means we need to avoid clear-cutting a forest. Clear-cutting leaves nothing to reseed. If a clear cut is unavoidable than yes we should replant at least one tree for everyone that was harvested.

Not only that, but we should replant the same species that we harvested. If we don't replant we could end up with a lifeless piece of ground, as a result of erosion. Or, invasive species will take over and choke out any chance of forest regrowth. Think about ​loggers in the future. They will need something to harvest as well. If we leave a forest barren than there will be nothing left for future generations to harvest.

Selective Logging

We also need to avoid cutting all of a particular species out of an area. Leave something to reseed. This is easy to do. Generally, there will be many different trees of the same species in a small area.

Let's say that there is a little grove of oaks in the forest we are logging, There will be some trees that are of a harvest-able size and some that are too small. Go ahead and cut all the ​harvestable trees and leave the younger ones to continue the diversity of the whole forest.

Skid with a Plan

Take care to not run the smaller trees over with the Log Skidder or the log that you are pulling. Plan a path for the logging cable that will avoid destroying saplings. Use that path over and over again so that you keep any damage to one small area.

Choose some trees that you are going to use to pivot the logs around corners as you skid. Preferably these will be trees that you planned to harvest anyway. These pivot trees will protect smaller trees in the area from being dozed over by a swinging log. Take a walk and plan out your skidder path ahead of time. This should be one of the first things you do when you begin harvesting a piece of timber.

Minimize Felling Damage

There are a lot of things a cutter has to think about when he is planning the landing path of a tree he is about to fell. Safety first, of course, but also high on the list should be landing the tree in an area that is fairly clear of small trees that can easily be destroyed by the weight of the falling tree. Not only does this prevent destruction of the saplings, but it also is a safer way to work. Fewer saplings pinned down by the tree means less spring poles that have to be avoided. If you have ever been hit by a spring pole you will do anything you can to avoid that in the future, that is if you walked away from the experience with your life.

Be a Straight Shooter

As a cutter, you should also try to fell trees in such a way that the skidder will be able to pull them in the straightest line possible. A log that can be pulled out without turning makes a lower impact on the surrounding trees. If a log has to be pulled around a corner and over some hang ups it will make wide swings and take out any saplings in its path.

In general, it is a good idea just to be mindful of what is going on in the woods. Be aware of how the techniques you are using affect the forests health. Look for ways to minimize your impact, leaving more harvest-able trees for future loggers. You never know you may be back in a few years to harvest that forest again, and won't you be glad that you took the time to implement sustainable logging practices the first time.