Impacts of forestry best management practices on logging costs and productivity in the northeastern USA

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Best management practices (BMPs) effectively mitigate erosion and sedimentation during and immediately after harvest operations. The responsibility for implementing BMPs typically falls on loggers, with implications for higher harvesting costs and, possibly, reduced logging productivity. Two methods were used to assess the impacts of BMPs on logging operations in the northeastern United States. First, a case study was conducted using shift-level production and activity data and machine rate calculations to assess the impacts of BMP implementation for eight harvest operations, ranging from single-operator hand-felling systems to fully mechanized whole-tree and cut-to-length systems. Second, a survey was conducted in which loggers were asked to estimate the number of days required to complete a hypothetical timber harvest with and without a set of prescribed BMPs and to indicate their minimum acceptable contract rates for each. The combined results revealed a range of costs from $0/ac to $62/ac and decreases in productivity between 0 and 20%.

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© 2017 Society of American Foresters. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Journal of Forestry