Whole-Tree Utilization System for Thinning Young Douglas-Fir
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is commercially thinning naturally established 40-year-old Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) stands which were once considered too small to be merchantable. Efficient, cost-effective thinning is accomplished by whole-tree chipping in the woods. The logging system includes a portable chipper, a chain-flail delimber, two rubber-tired grapple skidders, and three rubber-tired or tracked tree-to-tree feller-bunchers with accumulators. This system provides total utilization of the harvested material. An average of 100 to 125 green tons of pulp chips with less than 7-percent bark can be produced in an eight-hour shift. Approximately 1,000 stems per acre, averaging 4 inches in diameter at breast height, are removed to leave 200 of the best trees. This stocking gives adequate growing space and provides operational maneuverability. The feller-buncher operators are trained to select trees by following rules that describe leave trees. Stand damage can be kept within acceptable limits, preferably under 5 percent of the leave trees, by requiring prelocated skid trail systems and rub trees. Successful tree selection and avoidance of stand damage depend upon operator cooperation.
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Document Type: Journal Article
Affiliations: Assistant Division Manager, Research, Forest Land Management Division, State of Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia 98504
Publication date: 1983-04-01
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