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Impact of Group Selection Silviculture on Timber Harvesting Productivity and Cost in Appalachian Hardwood Timber Stands

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Group selection is a regeneration harvest method that is being promoted by the USDA Forest Service as an alternative to clearcutting. In a group selection cut, "groups" of trees are marked and harvested in small patches dispersed in a mosaic pattern throughout the timber stand. Group selection has the potential to increase harvesting cost as compared to traditional clearcutting. Three logging systems, a skyline yarder system, a feller-buncher/cable skidder system, and a chainsaw felling/cable skidder system were studied while logging group selection timber sales in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia. Time study data on the felling and skidding functions were recorded, as well as weekly production and cost data for each operation. Historic clearcutting production was obtained from the study loggers' records for comparison purposes. Group selection unit costs were $39.72, $14.13, and $15.33 per ton for the three systems, respectively. The study systems experienced decreases in production ranging front 17% to 52%. Most of the production decrease was due to an excessive amount of unproductive time directly resulting from the impact of the small, dispersed, multiple-harvest areas on the loggers' normal operating procedure and work flow. North. J. Appl. For. 10(4): 170-174.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, G.W. Andrews Forest Engineering Laboratory, Auburn University, AL 36849

Publication date: 1993-12-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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