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Forest Management and Timber Harvest Planning. Mark Hitchcock CF, MFS Fairweather Forestry 360-766-6500 [email protected] Basic Questions For Forest Landowners. What are your forest management objectives? What are the physical attributes of your land?

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forest management and timber harvest planning

Forest Management and Timber Harvest Planning

Mark Hitchcock CF, MFS

Fairweather Forestry


[email protected]

basic questions for forest landowners
Basic Questions For Forest Landowners
  • What are your forest management objectives?
  • What are the physical attributes of your land?
  • What are the biological characteristics of your forest?
management objectives
Management Objectives
  • Income
  • Aesthetics
  • Habitat
  • Mixed-Use
physical attributes
Physical Attributes
  • Soil attributes
    • Drainage
    • Depth
    • Fertility
    • Harvest Limitations
    • Reforestation Limitations
  • Topography
  • Elevation
  • Aspect
  • Adjacent land use
forest characteristics
Forest Characteristics
  • Species
    • Shade Tolerance
    • Longevity
    • Durability
  • Vigor
    • Disease
    • Insects
    • Crown Ratios
Evidence of root rot infestation. Root wads appear incomplete, or “fist-like“, due to root decay.

Fallen trees are “jack-strawed” and do not appear directionally felled, as in windthrow.

Later evidence of bark beetle infestation. The first signs of attack are pitch tubes marking where

female beetles have entered the tree. Secondary evidence is dry boring dust, similar to fine sawdust,

found in bark crevices and around the tree base.

Crown type classifications of trees in even-age stands. D= dominant, C= codominant, I= intermediate, W= wolf, S= suppressed, M= mortality. The “crown ratio” is the proportion of total tree height that is occupied by live crown. In this illustration, the dominants have a 50 percent crown ratio; the wolf tree has an 80 percent crown ratio.
silvicultural systems simplified
Silvicultural Systems Simplified
  • Cultivation of forests through comprehensive programs of stand treatments, commonly classified by reproduction method.
    • Even-Aged Reproduction Methods
      • Clearcutting
      • Seed-Tree
      • Shelterwood
    • Uneven-Aged Reproduction Methods
      • Selection
Stand Age = 28 Years

TPA = 397 (RA = 81)

QMD = 10.4

Uniform Thinning

TPA = 150 (RA = 0)

QMD = 12.9

Variable Thinning

TPA = 150 (RA = 20)

QMD = 12.1

A heavily thinned stand at age 50 – 30 years

after the first thinning. This is a highly productive

site where thinnings have reduced stand density to

a low number of large trees. The open condition

has allowed the development of understory plants.

A portion of the same stand, un-thinned, at age 50.

The stand has developed to a high density with

many smaller trees and few plants growing in the

understory because of a lack of light reaching the


logging equipment
Logging Equipment
  • Cable yarding systems
  • Ground-based yarding systems
A small cable yarding system equipped with a motorized, clamping carriage is commonly

employed to selectively harvest timber on steep slopes or over vulnerable soils. Use of

intermediate supports can extend yarding distances, thereby reducing the costs and impacts

of road construction.

Left and right sides of the graph represent traction under the best

conditions, but soil and weather conditions may reduce gradability.

The typical rubber-tired skidder will provide very

economical yarding in a variety of silviculture

prescriptions. The use of a cable winch and chokers,

as shown in this picture, increases machine versatility

and reduces soil compaction compared with using the

same machine equipped with a grapple.

A crawler tractor is among the most versatile of

machines. When equipped with winch and chokers or

a grapple, as shown in this picture, it can be used for

yarding. Wide, low ground pressure tracks reduce soil


A method of commercial thinning now

common is the use of a harvester-forwarder

combination in what is called a cut-to-length

system. The harvester moves through the

stand felling, delimbing, bucking, and

bunching trees selected for harvest;

meanwhile a forwarder loads and moves

these processed logs to the truck road where

it then unloads and sorts the logs into decks

for log truck pickup.

roads landings and skid trails
Roads, Landings, and Skid Trails
  • Avoid Wetlands and Drainages
  • Locate Skid Trails To Minimize Impacts
  • Plan to Recycle Skid Trails
  • Protect Leave Trees
Ground disturbance comparison between designated skid trails and random

skid trails. In this example, random skid trails result in about 25% more

ground disturbance that designated skid trails.

A rub tree is left intentionally to protect selected leave trees during harvest operations.

Rub trees should be removed, from back to front, after all other logs have been removed.

tree selection
Tree Selection
  • Form
  • Vigor
  • Crown Ratios
  • Spacing
  • Wildlife Trees
height diameter ratio
Height/Diameter Ratio
  • Intolerant species -  Less than or equal to 85
  • Tolerant species - Less than or equal to 95
tree and boundary marking
Tree and Boundary Marking
  • Clearly Mark Boundaries
  • Property Line Survey
  • Tree Marking
harvest timing
Harvest Timing
  • Dry Soil Conditions to Minimize Compaction
  • Avoid Spring Sap Flow (mid-March to mid-June) to Minimize Bark Slippage
Useful Web Sites

Washington State University Cooperative Extension

Oregon State University Extension

USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station

Graphics, Tables, and Pictures Shamelessly Borrowed From:

Creighton, J.H. and D.M. Baumgartner. 1997. Wildlife ecology and forest habitat. EC1866, WSU Cooperative Extension, Pullman, WA

Duncan, S. 2002. Volume, value, and thinning: logs for the future. Science Findings Issue 48, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Garland, J.J. 1997. Designated skid trails minimize soil compaction. EC1110, OSU Extension Service, Corvallis, OR.

Greulich, F.R., D.P. Hanley, J.F. McNeel, and D.M. Baumgartner. 1999. A primer for timber harvesting. EB1316, WSU Cooperative Extension, Pullman, WA.

Schlosser, W., D.M. Baumgartner, D.P. Hanley, S. Gibbs, and V. Corraro. 1996. Managing your timber sale. EB1818, WSU Cooperative Extension, Pullman, WA.

Stathers, R.J., T.P. Rollerson, and S.J. Mitchell. 1994. Windthrow handbook for British Columbia forests. Working Paper 9401, British Columbia Ministry of Forestry, Victoria, B.C.