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Residual Tree Damage Along Forwarder Trails from Cut-to-Length Thinning in Maine Spruce Stands

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In Maine and adjacent eastern Canadian provinces, cut-to-length harvesting has emerged as an ecologically attractive method of thinning conifer plantations and natural stands. Yet regional information on the extent of residual stand damage associated with this system is lacking. Eight naturally regenerated red spruce (Picea rubens) stands in northern Maine were studied; all stands were thinned in 1997–1998 with a processor and forwarder combination. Field methods consisted of examining individual trees near forwarder trails for bole damage and measuring the size and aboveground height of individual wounds. The frequency of trees damaged in each stand ranged from 25–46%. The four sites with the highest pre- and post-cut tree densities generally had the greatest number of damaged trees. Trees located along forwarder trails were more frequently damaged than nontrailside trees. The average individual wound size ranged from 2.6–8.7 in.2; 82–98% of the wounds in each stand were less than or equal to 10 in.2 in size. Usually, wounds on trailside trees were not significantly larger than wounds on nontrailside trees. Regardless of tree location, most wounds were located 3–6 ft above ground level.

Keywords: Cut-to-length harvesting; logging wounds; mechanized harvest; red spruce

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Arkansas Forest Resources Center, School of Forest Resources, University of Arkansas, Monticello, AR, 71656,

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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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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