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Assessment of Factors Contributing to Residual Tree Damage from Mechanized Harvesting in Northern Hardwoods

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Seven northern hardwood stands were evaluated for damage after mechanized harvesting. Four different harvesting systems were evaluated: harvester and grapple skidder, processor and forwarder, chainsaw and cable skidder, and chainsaw and forwarder. There was not an excessive amount of damage occurring to any of the residual stands, and there was an adequate number of residual trees per acre in all diameter classes to meet residual stand structure goals. The majority of the damage that did occur was to the bole portion of the tree and to the 2–8-in. dbh size classes. There was no strong relationship between amount of damage occurring to residual trees and the number of residual trees per acre, residual basal area per acre, or distance to skid trail. These results indicate that mechanized harvesting can be used in northern hardwoods without causing excessive damage to the residual stand. Recommendations are to continue with current silvicultural prescriptions and to increase forester-operator communication to minimize residual tree damage.

Keywords: Northern hardwoods; logging damage; mechanized harvesting

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science Michigan Technological University Houghton MI 49931

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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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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