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Managed Forest

Cut and bunched trees with unmerchantable material in the background-which will be turned into chips.

November 2014, Ron Hague, Operations Manager –

In the life of a managed forest, it all begins with a planted seedling in a site prepared area with adequate sunlight. After careful tending over the next twenty years, the plantation grows and the trees reach a size and condition where commercial thinning takes place. Commercial thinning is the first harvest operation where saw log size timber is cut and some revenue is realized following previous costs for establishing the plantation.

Presently, this is occurring on our log sale in the New York Flat area on approximately 250 acres of plantations 25 to 35 years of age. At the time of establishment, all of the site preparation and reforestation was accomplished with company employees. That included the actual planting of the seedlings by Dan Anderson and Dwight Lunkley. Now commercial thinning is being done with our company main side crew.

The cutting of the trees is being done by Derick McCuthcheon, running our Tigercat LX830C fellerbuncher. Derick is responsible for making all of the decisions cutting the stand based on guidelines established for stocking levels, species composition, tree condition and skidding layout.

Post-harvest stocking levels are established by the state forest practice rules and are strictly adhered to. Species composition is dominated by ponderosa pine, but douglas-fir, white fir and incense cedar are present and favored as a leave tree in a co-dominant or intermediate position. All suppressed, damaged, insect or disease infected trees are cut, many of which are un-merchantable as a saw log. Cut trees are bunched and layed out so that when skidded, damage to the residual stand is minimized.

Derick McCutcheon  runs the Tigercat fellerbuncher.

Derick McCutcheon runs the Tigercat fellerbuncher.

All trees whether they are merchantable as saw logs or not are skidded to the landing by Robert Richter, Ted Whitely, Jim Hays and Joe Allen to be processed. Merchantable trees are processed into saw logs by Skip Luczak and loaded onto trucks by Larry Thompson and Toby Thompson. These plantations are yielding about a half to one load of saw logs per acre and mountains of unmerchantable material generated from thinning and processing.

This unmerchatable material will later be turned into chips with the company’s in-woods horizontal grinder. Sawlog sizes range from 12 to 20 inches in diameter on the big end to an 8 inch small end diameter at 39 feet. Many other shorter log lengths are generated to utilize the timber resource meeting the log purchaser’s desire for preferred lengths.

The residual stand will benefit from this commercial thinning harvest by growing over the next ten years and may be selectively harvested again before its target rotation age of 60 years where the whole process starts again.

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