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Timber Stand Management – Part 4

The Timber Harvest


Selecting a logging company to conduct the harvest can be a nightmare or a dream. Many landowners have no idea how to go about selecting a good reputable logging company. Here again is where the timber and or land manager can be of great assistance. Loggers have a bad reputation for destroying property. However good loggers are very precise in their cutting practice and understand the importance of a good reputation.

Good communication is the critical element. Many landowners and managers prefer to leave all communication of the harvest process to the timber manager. However I would recommend a joint effort. Introducing yourself to the men in the field will personalize the harvest for the loggers and help them to understand what your goals are.

Also plan to make spot visits of the harvest process. By dropping in unannounced you have the potential of catching the loggers doing things they are not supposed to do, and help keep them in the straight and narrow.

As a timber stand project, now is a good time to look at you overall plan. Identify where you want food plots and tell the timber harvest company of this location. Often the loading deck used to load the logs make excellent food plots after the harvest is complete. A little communication and they will leave the deck in a condition that will take little effort to plant. One method is simply communicating with the foreman and letting him know that at the completion of the project what the intended use of the deck is slated for and ask if he could clear it all off as neatly as possible. Or as some choose to do, pile it all up in the middle and burn it off. Either way, make sure the deck is cleaned and ready to plant when they leave.

The last measure to check is the condition of the roads. Let’s face it, logging equipment is big and heavy and will damage roads and leave ruts in your fields and forest. There just is no way around it. However, if your contract includes the performance bond indicated and stipulates that the roads must be left in “as good or better” condition at the completion, hold them to it. It is far more cost effective for them to smooth the roads while they have the equipment there than to bring it in later. It may even pay to give the operator a tip for doing a good job and allow it to turn into a bit more work.

One of the last things is to police the area very well. Perhaps it’s a pet peeve but one thing that some loggers have done and causes a bad reputation for others is litter. Oil cans, soda bottles, lunch wrappers, and tires, you name it and it has been left in the woods by loggers. While there is no way to prevent all of it from happening, a quick policing of the area will keep it down to a minimum.

Harvest of trees can be a stressful time for land managers and land owners. There is always the concern if it is the right time, the best market, good for the land, for wildlife etc. But as land owners and managers we need to keep in mind that all of the land and wildlife benefit from diverse stages of growth. The land recovers quickly and in time the harvested land will heal, new trees will be planted and a crop of pines will grow to be harvested again.