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Time and Cost Study of Pruning a 12-Year-Old Loblolly Pine Plantation

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A time and motion study was conducted to determine time and cost of pruning thinned, 12-year-old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations to a height of 25 ft. The study incorporated thinning treatments to stand density indices (SDI) of 70, 120, and 170. Pruning times with labor and equipment costs were used to determine per acre and per tree pruning costs at each stand density. Pruning costs were used to determine stumpage price premiums necessary to break-even on a pruning investment. Calculations were performed with various hourly wage and interest rates. The average per tree pruning time for a pair of workers was 2 minutes and 16 seconds, which results in a net average of 11.6 trees pruned per hour per worker. Per acre combined labor and equipment costs ranged from $58.09 to $288.59 depending on stand density and wage paid. Cost per tree ranged from $0.55 to $1.00 depending on stand density and wage paid. Break-even values ranged from $63.55 to $2,584.14/ac depending on stand density, wage paid, alternative rate of return, and rotation age. South. J. Appl. For. 29(4):179–184.
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Keywords: Low-density management; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; motion; natural resource management; natural resources; pruning; time

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Forestry Louisiana Tech University Ruston LA 71272 (318) 257-4926, Email: [email protected] 2: Smith County Appraisal District Tyler TX 75702 3: Department of Forest Science Texas A&M University Overton TX 75684

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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