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Old 04-28-2014, 06:58 AM   #1
cityboy
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Is it Good Lumbering Practice?

About 7 years ago Finch Pruyn lumbered our lease property. They used a big machine to cut the timber. Because of wet spots they laid down a layer of branches and limbs along the logging roads. Its not much better off the roads either.

Seven years later its still hard to walk without breaking an ankle. Is this considered best practice? Its hard to sightsee when you constantly have to look where you walk. Its very unsightly too.

Are there any benefits to this procedure? Anyone else have this problem?
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:06 AM   #2
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That's pretty common when they use a harvester. The limbs have to go somewhere and by laying them in the road they add some protection to the road. The limbs also break down quicker after being run over by the machine.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Limekiln View Post
That's pretty common when they use a harvester. The limbs have to go somewhere and by laying them in the road they add some protection to the road. The limbs also break down quicker after being run over by the machine.
They must not have broken them down enough. The road is littered in spots with interlacing branches and if you're not careful you go down 2 feet. I thought maybe since they sold their holdings shortly after that they were trying to cut costs. And it has been 7 years and its still there.

From what I understand Finch still has lumbering rights for 20 years.

I also wonder if its a fire hazard now.

Last edited by cityboy; 04-28-2014 at 07:22 AM.. Reason: Added Fire hazard
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:03 AM   #4
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Its no benefit to those that like hiking the logging roads.

The best camp firewood is the super dry branches that litter the road. That's why I wonder about the fire threat.

When I first starting leasing, the property had been logged about 5 years before. They did it the "old fashioned" way with chainsaws. No problem walking the roads back then. Now its no fun at all. And its not much easier walking off road either.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:06 AM   #5
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Interesting thread.
The title, "Is this good lumbering practice" is, to me, a suggestion that the poster is either suspecting or suggesting the contrary.

One answer, "It is common" indicates whether good or bad, it is commonly done.

Then the thread quickly turns into a discussion of the pros and cons of logging in general. A mild snipe (I saw it as a snipe, maybe it wasn't meant to be one) points out that if you live in a house then you need the logging industry (and by extension you have no business criticizing logging).

It's also interesting that the OP uses logging roads to hike on, thereby deriving a recreational benefit from the activity of logging.

Then we quickly move on to a short discussion on whether logging benefits the forest, wildlife and man. The answers to all of those questions are: it depends on what you want to achieve.

A tended forest (sylviculture, tree farming) obviously can be scientifically planted to maximize the capture of incident solar energy into chemical bonds between sugar molecules (ie. wood).

A wild forest has greater biodiversity but appears chaotic and a lot of solar energy goes uncaptured. It is inefficient, not unlike an undammed waterway whose potential energy seems to flows away uselessly to the sea. A harvested forest provides feeding opportunities for game animals such as deer, whose population increases. Is this good because people like to hunt them or is it bad because deer are the preferred hosts of ticks which are the main vectors of Lyme disease, and the size of the tick population parallels that of the deer population?

So, returning to the thread title (why not, after all?), what is good lumbering practice and how do you judge the goodness or badness of the maintenance of logging roads? By the cost? By allowing people to walk down them and sight-see? By fire hazard?
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:42 AM   #6
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I've since asked around. The current Timber manager of the lease owner indicated that they (Finch) would never have gotten away with it if he had been supervising the job.

My own property has been logged twice. The first time the loggers lopped off the upper half of trees and left it lying where it fell and took the good part. Logging roads were deeply rutted. I think they took advantage of my parents who were old. As a deer hunter they ruined the area for 15 years. I was constantly climbing under, over, and around treetops.

When I contracted out I made sure it didn't happen again. The result was a neat forest with drivable logging roads. It doesn't even look like it was cut.
I haven't asked the wildlife how they felt since they have yet to pay their share of the taxes.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:17 PM   #7
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Great history of America and her forest;
"American Canopy" by Eric Rutkow
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:56 PM   #8
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If it was a commercial thinning then the tops should not need to be everywhere, but if the canopy has been opened significantly the tops preventing free movement can help regeneration since they keep the deer from eating small trees after they sprout. It is a tradeoff between long term forest management and short term recreation and there is not a right or wrong answer, it just depends what your goal is. Ideally a logger should work with you to promote your personal forest goals on your land but all too often that is not the case.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:21 PM   #9
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Any photos of, or links to good and bad logging practices?
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:55 PM   #10
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I would think that it is a lot better than 2+ft ruts everywhere and u would still need to put the limbs and tops somewhere so it seems like a pretty good alternative to me
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:46 PM   #11
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I agree with albert on this one. Not only is it easier to walk on branches, branches everywhere looks a lot better than huge ruts left by skidders. I also think that logging is important to our wildlife. It is also a lot easier to walk through a logged woods then one that has never been logged.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:50 AM   #12
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When the cutting is done plays a big role in appearance. My summer property was just cut in January to March before mud season. Very few ruts and the Logger is still coming back to grade in the fall.
As I recall the Newcomb Lease was cut July through October. It was much wetter then hence the layer of branches. Still you would think they could have used a grader to smooth it out. And no it is not easier to walk on branches. Think of trying to navigate a brush pile.
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Old 05-28-2014, 01:45 PM   #13
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The tops make great firewood. Some firewood dealers would love to cut there for free. Tops left on the ground make for good cover for animals. Some Amish use teams of mules or horses and lessen the impact of leaving deep ruts. In the Spring when the earth is wet its almost impossible to not leave ruts as that's what skidders do.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:23 PM   #14
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A bit late on this, but I wanted to add to this discussion.

To answers Cityboy's question definitively, yes, piling "slash" (the cutoff tops and branches of trees) in the skid trails is considered "good lumbering practice." It cuts down on soil compaction during the harvesting, and also helps to keep the soils in place over time, which cuts down on erosion over time after the harvesting is completed.

And, yes, it does make it a pain in the butt to try to walk the skid trails after the fact. There are ways in which skid trails can be constructed and maintained that will facilitate easy foot access, but it is important to realize that these methods are much more labor intensive and costly. On private industrial timber lands, where only the occasional hunting camp lease owner is likely to travel through the area on foot, it simply isn't economically justifiable to put that effort or expenditure into a job when it's only going to make very small group of people happy.
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Old 09-15-2014, 01:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
A bit late on this, but I wanted to add to this discussion.

To answers Cityboy's question definitively, yes, piling "slash" (the cutoff tops and branches of trees) in the skid trails is considered "good lumbering practice." It cuts down on soil compaction during the harvesting, and also helps to keep the soils in place over time, which cuts down on erosion over time after the harvesting is completed.
Does this "slash" constitute a fire hazard? I've heard it rots fast but its still clogging up the skid trails after 8 years. The few times I've built an outdoor fire I use it as kindling because its so dry.

In the thread on Forest Fires in the General section people have mentioned slash as potential fuel for another Great Adirondack Fire.
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:11 PM   #16
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Doubtful. If they are following best management practices, the skid trails, and therefore the slash piles in the skid trails, would constitute less than 10% of the surface area harvested.

And even if it did result in a fire, the slash would still be localized to the immediate area, which would make it likely that the fire would also be localized to that area. One of the characteristics that resulted in the fires early in Adirondack Park history was the fact that there was slash everywhere, not just here and there in dis-contiguous stands.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:34 PM   #17
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I agree with Cityboy. The lumber companies sure do make a mess. However, what could they do to better improve their practices without increasing costs to their bottom line? In the end it seems its always about money.
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Old 08-01-2015, 03:38 PM   #18
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I watched a logging operation near Northville a few years back where they used a helicopter to bring the logs to the landing.
It was much quicker than using skidders and left no mark on the steep mountainside.
The tops were left where they fell providing excellent deer browse.
I may add that this was a "hardwood" logging job. Hardwoods bring a much higher price at the mill.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:49 PM   #19
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I was President of a campers association a few years ago and during my term several of the camps were upset after some of the land behind their camps was logged. I contacted the lumber company who was concerned and we arranged for a representative to do a "woods walk" with myself and another representative of the campers association. This logging company followed the "best practices" and their representative explained that the logging company purposely placed the branches across the logging roads as well as cut shallow ditches diagonally across the logging roads to help stem the flow of water and prevent erosion. It cost the logging company money to do this but was considered part of the "best practices" that they followed. He also showed us healthy trees which were left standing so as to become "seed trees". Where there were creeks, even intermittent ones, they left the area on each side alone (I forget the distance). He also explained much about the trees they had marked and they did not log right up to their property line but left a sizeable border of standing timber behind the camps, which they didn't have to do either. All in all, we got schooled and when we were done, had a new respect for their concern for being good neighbors.

One could argue that we got sold a "bill of goods" but I don't think so, based upon the evidence we saw. All this being said, I don't think I've ever heard someone say a logger did a great job when they were done. By the nature of what they do, it scars the landscape. I'm not defending logging or the loggers nor do I have a bone to pick with them. Undoubtedly there are good and bad companies in the business just like any other.

I have seen areas that have utilized feller bunchers to do the logging and chipped up virtually all the tops, filling up trucks with the chips which were shipped to a mill somewhere. The landscape was virtually denuded. It looked nice & clean but I suspect not as good for wildlife as it would have been if the tops were left in place.

Here's a link to the NYS DEC "Best Practices" for maintaining water quality.
http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_for...lfbmpguide.pdf

Last edited by EagleCrag; 08-02-2015 at 10:04 PM..
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Old 08-03-2015, 03:49 PM   #20
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I've been through this and I would suggest that anyone who has timber holdings hire a licensed professional to cruise the property, assess the value of the lumber and layout access routes to bring the logs to a staging area.
Of course this will subtract from the profit of the landowner, but it may well be worth it.
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