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Tree Assessment, Low Impact Harvesting Workshop

May 2, 2012
By RICHARD GAST , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Most forest and woodlot owners are aware of the potential for income from the sale of timber harvested from their property. Unfortunately, many are completely unaware of the harmful, long term environmental and financial impacts that can come from poorly planned timber harvesting. They are also unaware of the many available income producing opportunities that don't compromise the quality of timber stands or put habitat, watershed, beauty, recreation, or the spiritual renewal that forest property offers, at risk.

The decision to protect, preserve, and improve a timber stand in ways that conserve resources and aesthetics is the single most important decision that a private forest landowner can make. Accomplishing this, however, requires careful planning and management. It's necessary to first understand what options are available, identify resources, determine objectives, and set goals.

Properly managed woodland may produce income from sales of sawtimber. But, it may also generate income from maple syrup or other agroforestry production. It may provide a supply of firewood, while serving as a nest-egg for retirement. Or it may be a long-term commitment to your children and grandchildren, wildlife, and the environment.

Practicing proper woodlot and/or forest stewardship will enable you to achieve important goals and benefits without compromising the ability of your land to meet the needs of future owners. That doesn't necessarily translate to more wood, more wildlife or more money, although it could provide some of those; nor does it mean that all of your objectives will be met on your entire property. It does mean that you will get more of the things that you desire out of your forest, and that you will be doing so in an environmentally responsible manner.

One of the best ways to learn about conservation planning and sustainable forest stewardship strategies and practices that maximize productive use of forest natural resources is to attend workshops held on privately owned non-industrial forest properties when they are made available to the public. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, in association with the extension's ForestConnect program, which works with woodland owners and maple producers to help them learn the basic principles of small scale woodlot harvesting and management, is offering just such a workshop; the first of several private forest management workshops that Cornell Cooperative Extension will be offering this year.

This program, conducted by State Extension Service Forester Peter Smallidge, is intended for woodland owners with beginner to intermediate knowledge and/or skill, as well as anyone interested in learning about sustainable forestry practices. It will examine basic silviculture principles, including pruning, thinning, and harvesting to control the stock, density, composition, growth, health, and overall quality of a forest stand. Additional focus will be on low impact practices and safety.

Fact Box



When: May 19 at 10:30 a.m.

Where: Meet at the sugarhouse at Brushton Moira School, Gale Road, Brushton, (Free to members of the Franklin County Maple Producers Association, state Maple Producers Association, or the New York Forest Owners Association (Join any of these organizations at the event and the program fee will be waived.)

Registration and Information: Call 518-483-7403 or email

This workshop will look, too, at the protective gear necessary for safe chainsaw operation and how to inspect tools and equipment for wear. Anyone involved in forest management should at least be familiar with chainsaw operation and safety and the use of tools such as limb pruning handsaws, come-alongs, chains, peavies, and the like.

The workshop will also examine small scale, low impact equipment that a typical landowner can use to remove small numbers of logs from the forest without damaging standing trees, and will include a demonstration of forwarding, using a low impact ATV and logging arch. The size and relative low cost of ATVs, along with the fact that ATV arches are designed to allow one person to easily transport logs from the woods, makes the idea of logging with them very appealing. Some arches are designed not just for ATVs, but for use behind pick-up trucks, Gators, even riding lawn mowers.

We will also discuss directional felling techniques, including the use of plastic felling wedges to help control the direction of a tree's fall. Felling trees is especially dangerous. And being able to place the tree you are removing right where you want it to fall can be essential. A step-by-step directional felling demonstration will clearly demonstrate the mechanical advantage felling with wedges offers in directing the fall of a tree.

Those attending should dress for the weather and be prepared for walking on moderately rough ground. Participants are encouraged to bring a hard hat, clipboard, pencil, paper, and a bagged lunch.



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