Is selective felling possible in BC's coastal forests?

Mike Hagen mhagen at mail.olympus.net
Mon Feb 2 18:49:39 EST 1998


You're right on there Don. 
As far as PNW knowledge for logging selectively on slopes goes, well
there's been a lot of experience in how not to do it. It wasn't the
flat, easy ground that eroded and generally made loggers look bad. It's
the 90%+ slopes that were cut to make up acreage, volume and deflection.
Too many of these were done on the cheap: inadequate deflection, too
many and excessivly steep roads, unstable landings and downhill yarding.
Ugh. The ways to do it right are VERY expensive and the operators highly
skilled. With the decline of high country, old growth logging, most of
these guys have retired their equipment and gone on to do other things.
Like fish restoration.

I'm not sure that there are ANY balloon loggers left and haven't heard
of any helicopter shows for a couple of years either. Look up the
history of the Helistat. Check on Columbia Helicopters (Oregon). There
are only a couple of really big yarders left in WA. Multispan skylines
are something I've never seen in action but are a possiblity. They never
caught on here but (I've heard) are used in Europe.

Unfortunately, selective logging on the steep faces more problems than
erosion and equipment. Partial cuts using a skyline cost you more in two
ways :there are less trees to log per area and you've got to rerig for
each skyline road. So either the trees cut are exceptionally valuable
and can cover the extra cost or you have very efficient side pulling or
you have a big subsidy. Valuable trees tend to be old growth and a bit
of a philosophical hassle these days. Safety is a factor too. Working
under cable among a residual stand can be hard both on the nerves and on
the remaining trees. 

But it has been done and done well. I guess you just have to want to do
it bad enough.
Mike H.


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