9: Harvesting Timber

FAQ: Harvesting Timber


1. Am I required by law to use forestry timber harvesting guidelines or best management practices (BMPs) when harvesting timber on my property?
Answer: States in the upper Midwest have chosen to make their timber harvesting guidelines or BMP programs voluntary on private forest lands, although it is strongly encouraged that landowners implement them. Within some areas of the state, these practices may be required. Your forester will know the status of any local requirements.
2. Do I need to register my timber harvest plans anywhere?
Answer: In some states, a cutting notice must be filed with an appropriate governmental entity before any timber can be harvested. As regulations vary from one state to another, ask your forester as they will be knowledgeable about state and local regulations
3. If I have a winter harvest, what can I use to divert water on a skid trail, road, or landing at the end of the harvest operation?
Answer: Limbs and tops from harvested trees (slash) may be an appropriate option. If used, it is important to drive over the slash to make sure that it is in direct contact with the trail, road, or landing.
4. Will my timber sale revenues be decreased by applying the timber harvesting guidelines or best management practices (BMPs)?
Answer: While the practices are designed to help sustain your forest, some practices will reduce your income because they require something additional. For example, there is a cost to purchase and install a culvert.Read the section on Timber Harvesting Systems. Discuss with your forester which harvesting system (whole-tree, tree length, or shortwood) they think is most appropriate for your timber sale. Remember, your harvesting system may depend on your reasons for selling timber (see Chapter 8: Marketing Timber). As you think about the harvesting systems, consider how any limitations you wish to place on their operations should be incorporated into the timber sale contract discussed in Chapter 8: Marketing Timber.
5. Which timber harvesting system is best?
Answer: Because there are differences between the timber harvesting systems, one may be better suited to accomplishing the goals you establish for your timber harvest. Where possible, you want to match your goals with the most appropriate timber harvesting system. You may want to review Chapter 4: Regenerating Woodland Stands and Chapter 6: Managing Important Forest Types. Read the section on Transportation Infrastructure to learn about roads, skid trails, and landing sites and how they are dependent on and can impact topography, hydrology, and regeneration. Think about the long-term needs you may have on your woodland. Do you need the logger to create other trails or openings for you? Additional trails or openings you wish created also should be incorporated into the timber sale contract. Review Chapter 13: Recreational Trail Design for more information. Consider where you want this infrastructure and if there are seasonal limitations to the infrastructure.
6. If I want to use a skid trail as a recreation trail after the harvest has ended, do I still need to install water diversion options on the trail?
Answer: Ask your forester. Generally, you won’t need to install a water diversion option on your recreation trail. However, as the purpose of a water diversion devise is to maintain soil on your trail, consider other options for managing the water on the trail (shaping the trail to allow water to flow off of it, seeding it to slow the flow of water). Read the section on Harvesting Equipment. Consider what you might want to have done with the slash (unmarketable limbs, bark, and tops) and stumps following a harvest. If you have specific requirements for their disposition or any limitations on the timber harvesting equipment to be used, you’ll want to include instructions in a timber sale prospectus and contract discussed in Chapter 8: Marketing Timber.
7. While I would like to maximize the income from my timber sale, my forester has suggested leaving some or all of the slash in the woods and retaining some standing live trees. Why?
Answer: Slash and leave trees are important to maintain forest biodiversity and for wildlife habitat. Retaining slash across the site may also be important to maintain the productive capacity of forest soils.

Read the section on Forest Certification. Does it sound like forest certification is important to you? Remember there are both costs and benefits to certification. If certification is important to you, further discuss it with your forester and then include appropriate requirements for this in your timber sale prospectus and contract discussed in Chapter 8: Marketing Timber.


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Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners, 3rd Edition Copyright © 2019 by University of Minnesota Extension is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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