Logging is an essential part of Oregon’s economy, and there are many players in the process. A landowner owns the timber. They may hire a forest manager to manage their tree farm. They, in turn, would hire a logging crew, a trucking crew and also contact the mills that purchase logs. All of these parties work together to ensure a safe and successful harvest.
Logging companies closely follow the guidelines set forth by the Oregon Forest Practices Act. Prior to logging, landowners are required to notify the Department of Forestry and detail how they will protect the natural resources on their land.
Evolving technology helps loggers have a lighter touch on the land. Modern forest roads greatly reduce runoff to area streams. Scandinavian-designed harvesters have been widely adopted across the industry, and they feature a longer reach and balloon-type tires to minimize soil compression. On steep terrain, cable harvesting and helicopters minimize the effect of harvest on the land. Less soil compaction from these methods means the soil keeps the porosity needed to filter water effectively.
Types of Harvest:
A forest landowner has many choices when it comes to harvesting. It all depends on what they are trying to achieve and what type of forest they have. While clearcutting gets most of the headlines in Oregon, it’s just one of several harvest methods. Other harvesting options include seed tree, shelterwood, patchcut, group selection and single-tree selection.
Some tree species such as western hemlock and big leaf maple are shade tolerant and do well in single-tree selection systems. Other species such as Douglas-fir and red alder are not shade tolerant, and they require nearly full sun for good growth. Clearcutting, patch cutting and group selection are typically used with these types of species.