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Aggregate Roads on Private Woodlands: Does It Pay?

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This study evaluates the financial viability of investing in aggregate roads to conduct a timber harvest during the wet season, designated as January through May, and if that investment generates a positive return when compared to harvesting during the dry season, designated as June through October. A road length of 26 stations with two cost scenarios are used in the study. The first includes minor preparation of a preexisting road with a 12-foot running surface and 12 inches of noncompacted aggregate. The second scenario includes aggregate costs only with 12 inches of noncompacted aggregate on a 10-foot running surface. Douglas-fir (Pseudtsugamenziesii) log values are obtained over a 16-year period. Results indicate that a harvest during the wet season realizes values 2.3% greater than those when harvesting timber during the dry season. A timber harvest of 1.625 MMBF is necessary to recover the costs incurred in the first scenario, and 1.199 MMBF is necessary to recover the costs incurred in the second scenario. Although many woodland owners have insufficient timber volumes to pay for these roads, the environmental, recreational, and other nonharvest considerations of quality aggregate-surfaced roads is an important factor in the decision to invest in these types of road systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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