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Economics of Coharvesting Smallwood by Chainsaw and Skidder for Crop Tree Management in Missouri

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Forest improvement harvests using individual-tree and group selection were conducted in four oak or oak-hickory stands in the Missouri Ozarks with conventional equipment (chainsaw and skidder). Volumes (and revenues) for different timber classes (sawlogs and smallwood from topwood and small trees) and hours of machine use were recorded to calculate production rates. Multiplying these by estimated hourly machine costs and adding loading and transportation costs plus stumpage yielded harvest plus delivery costs. Loggers kept machine costs low by operating old equipment with low capital costs and by owner servicing. Coharvesting of sawlogs and smallwood provided $240‐$340/person-day in net operating revenues to loggers. Smallwood harvest yielded positive net revenues because loggers paid little or nothing for this material. Nevertheless, loggers could continue to generate positive net operating revenues if they paid a modest fee of $4‐$5/ton for smallwood (as occurred in a subsequent salvage harvest). The cost of implementing best management practices (water bars and other erosion-control structures) with a skidder was affordable (≤2% of logger's net operating revenue). Overall, the results supported crop tree management as a financially rational alternative across a variety of sites and showed that smallwood harvest does not always require subsidy.

Keywords: Ozarks; best management practices (BMPs); forest improvement harvest; machine costs; sawlogs

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • 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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