Harvest system selection and design for damage reduction in noble fir stands : a case study on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/7p88cj55b

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  • Many high-elevation stands of noble fir in the northern Oregon Cascades are being actively managed. Forest managers are investigating different activities that will control stand impacts and the subsequent spread of Heterobasidion annosum a rot pathogen on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The purpose of this study was to quantify the relationship of logging production and costs with associated residual stand damage during a commercial thinning operation. Investigated in the study were four ground-based harvesting systems and two different harvest unit layout methods. The harvest systems encompassed a variety of equipment and mechanization levels ranging from mechanized felling and bunching with grapple skidders to manual felling, limbing, and bucking using a rubber-tired skidder equipped with a winch line. In addition, each harvest system was compared using two layout methods. The first method was conventional or logger's choice and the second was a designated method incorporating proven methods for reducing stand damage. Log lengths varied from whole-tree to log-length depending on the harvest system employed. Logging production and costs were determined for the harvesting systems using a combination of detailed and shift level time studies. A stand damage survey conducted simultaneously with production studies determined percent residual stand damage, specific equipment causing damage, and individual scar characteristics. Harvesting costs for the four different systems and layout methods ranged from $67.77/MBF-$92.68/MBF, with residual stand damage of 20.12-62.62%. Equipment size, log lengths, and layout method were found to affect total residual stand damage. Reducing the use of larger, more mechanized pieces of equipment in the stand and keeping log length to a minimum resulted in a significant decrease in residual stand damage. Cost differences between designated and conventional layout methods for each harvest system were minimal. The main difference in harvesting cost was between the different systems and log lengths. Harvesting costs varied, being similar for the highest and lowest mechanized systems but increasing with the intermediate harvesting systems.
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