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Log Merchandising in Aspen

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In the Northwest and South it is common practice to buck logs into various products at some central point in the woods or at a permanent installation; sorting criteria are designed to maximize economic return. Material from a given harvest may yield peeler bolts, sawlogs, pulpwood, pallet bolts, and firewood sticks. Though widespread and apparently profitable elsewhere, the practice, known as log merchandising, is seldom employed in northern forests.

In a study of aspen in northern Minnesota, 20 percent or more of woodsrun stem volume was of sawlog quality. Such information was combined with technical and economic data to make a discounted cash flow analysis of three mobile and four fixed-site merchandiser systems.

Though requiring an investment of $3.3 million (1981 dollars) a double-line linear system designed for use in a concentration yard appeared to be the most economically attractive under a variety of assumptions about raw material quality and economic factors. With mobile chipping units, prelogging to glean sawlog material appeared feasible if the proportion of sawlog volume exceeded 20 percent. Sorting logs at the landing immediately prior to chipping was found to be less profitable than chipping alone.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Principal Forest Economist, North Central Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Duluth, MN

Publication date: 1984-07-01

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