Harvest. from IPCo Tree Lines

Don Staples dstaples at livingston.net
Sun Dec 7 15:07:32 EST 1997

One of two articles forwarded from Tree Lines, International Paper
Company publication dated Nov-Dec '97

Harvest With an Eye on Aesthetics

First impressions leave lasting impressions.  That's why it's important
for landowners to take steps to ease the
visual harshness that can accompany harvest.  By practicing proper
timber harvesting aesthetics, landowners can
reassure the public about good forestry management with the roadside
activities they see.
Even activities that are environmentally sound can be visually
unappealing and appear wasteful to passersby,
such as leaving trees that are too small to cut.  International Paper
harvesting specialists have taken the initiative to
find ways to improve such sites and shake the negative public image.
"We know clear cut areas get reforested promptly, but the casual
observer doesn't see that," says Hugh McManus,
Sheridan Land and Timber.  "Aesthetics can improve the value of

International Paper crews now cut the unmerchantable stems down along
with the merchantable trees so that
each area looks like it was intended to be cut.  By putting these stems
on the ground, nutrients can cycle back into
the soil faster and a "ragged" appearance can be avoided.  Volunteer
pines and small, unmerchantable whips are
also removed from clear cuts, which helps reduce the competition for
nutrients and water for the planted seedlings.

Not all trees should be removed, however.  International Paper experts
recommend some hardwoods be left for
wildlife preservation.  Hardwoods provide perches for hawks, homes for
cavity nesters and living space for other
birds and bugs.  Make sure that designated hardwood leave trees are away
from highways and power lines so they
do not present unsafe conditions as they age.

Care should be taken with trees harvested along streams and highways. 
Leaving a buffer strip along waterways
keeps herbicides out of the streams and leaves an area for wildlife to
find shelter and food.  In order to preserve the
strip, trees along the streamside zone should be felled into the clear
cut area.  Along highways, consideration
should be given to large tops and old trees that are traditionally left
on the site.  They should be cut down and laid
flat to replenish nutrients and remove the appearance of waste to the

International Paper is also experimenting with the shape of harvest
areas.  Rather than straight edge sites or sites
where a "curtain" of trees is left between the road and the clear cut,
harvested areas are being shaped more like
jigsaw puzzle pieces and cut all the way up to the roadside, leaving
island or visual corridors.  Harvesting
equipment is used to delimb trees, carry the slash across the site and
spread it out.  The jagged edges are more
aesthetically-pleasing and can provide a more natural area for wildlife
to find food and cover.

"If you see it from the highway, it provides some visual diversity and
intrigues the eye," says McManus.  

Company specialists suggest aesthetics be woven into every aspect of
your forestry operations.  When thinning an
area, for example, consider felling unwanted hardwoods and leaving other
trees, such as dogwoods, for a
"park--like" appearance.  Avoid cutting corridors.  That can make a site
look .'artificial."

Landowners should work with a mechanized contractor who uses large
hydraulic sawheads and delimbers for
redistribution of limbs on-site.  Consider 1-iaving the loader and
trucks set up off the road in a circular drive,
where the logging deck is away from highly visible roadsides and the
slash can be spread after the job is complete. 
After a thinning is done, the logging deck can be readily converted into
a wildlife food lot by overseeding.

These are just a few tips on how loggers and landowners can improve the
public's perception of good forestry
practices.  Many state forestry associations and extension offices carry
information on harvesting practices.  But a
true key to logging aesthetics is what you do afterwards.  Replanting a
forest in a timely manner with road signs or
billboards that indicate a new forest is growing shows responsible
forest management and makes good economic
sense, too.

Don Staples
UIN 4653335

My Ego Stroke:  http://www.livingston.net/dstaples/

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