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Effects of Bear Damage on Douglas-Fir Lumber Recovery

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Bear activity resulting in injury to Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii [Mirb.] Franco) trees has been documented as early as the mid-1850s in the Pacific Northwest. The study reported in this article was designed to help managers decide whether the common practice of removing the damaged but potentially valuable butt section of the bottom log and leaving it in the woods is warranted. Thirty-four damaged and 28 undamaged trees were selected from three sites in western Washington where bear damage has been a persistent problem. Trees were felled and bucked into 16-ft lengths. The damaged trees in the sample had been injured at ages between 10 and 15 years at two sites and between 10 and 65 years at the third site. The primary scaling deductions were for ring and scar defects. The 16-ft butt logs from the damaged and undamaged trees were sawn into dimension lumber. Bear-damaged logs were found to have lower cubic volume recovery than undamaged logs having the same small-end diameters. Lumber grade recovery was also influenced by bear damage; logs from damaged trees had a lower percentage of high-value lumber. The analysis suggests that the optimal harvesting policy is to haul the entire butt log to the mill rather than leaving the damaged portion in the woods. Although the value of the damaged portion is lower, most of the lumber recovered from that section can be used, with only a modest reduction in grade and value.

Keywords: Douglas-fir lumber recovery; bear damage; log value

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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