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Tract Size and Harvesting Costs in Southern Pine

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Average harvesting costs per cord were estimated by computer simulation for several southern pine harvesting systems on tracts ranging from 5 to 360 acres in size. Costs for highly mechanized systems averaged less than those for shortwood and chain-saw tree-length operations on tracts larger than 20 to 30 acres, but rose rapidly on tracts smaller than 20 acres. On tracts under 20 acres, shortwood systems employing bobtail trucks or prehaulers had somewhat lower costs--which, however, remained nearly constant as tract size increased. Costs for a tree-length cable skidder operation leveled off slightly higher than those for the prehauler system at about 40 acres. Semi-mechanized shortwood systems were not much affected by tract size, but their costs were higher than those for all other harvest systems. While the simulation held constant many factors that influence costs in the field, the general results correspond to the actual use of systems in the South.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Assistant Professor, School of Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens 30602

Publication date: 01 July 1983

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