Saturday, September 30, 2006

Timber


We often see log trucks on our roads being that timber is the largest industry we have. Either you know about the industry or you don’t. If you don’t know and are curious here are some things I learned last year.

Yes, I may be considered a tree hugger, but I found that sometimes a forest needs to be thinned to keep it healthy. I had several acres of forest land with mature trees. The only trees I would take for fire wood were the trees that were dead, fallen over or leaning and rubbing against another healthy tree. Several years ago a neighbor clear-cut his land down wind from my forest. This left my trees exposed to the strong winds of winter. I lost several every year. I can only use so much firewood, so I called in a professional to assess what the best plan of action would be.

My trees were old, around 75 years old. Some were diseased. The plan was to take the marketable timber and leave the younger trees.

Here are the financial breakdowns of the profit and expenses of logging.
For a log truck load of hemlock we got about $1500 a load. For a load of alder we got around $2000. A load of spruce (usually the really big logs you see) only brings about $800 because that is used for pulp. It is also paid by the ton rather than board foot.

Most logging companies charge 50% of the gross, my logger only charged 30%, and was well worth the expense. It cost about $180 for the self loading log truck for each load, and surprisingly the forestry tax wasn’t all that much, but the capital gains tax was. Then there is the cost of replanting, which I may need to do again this winter because several of the 200 cedars and 800 hemlocks I planted died during the long dry spell we’ve had.

The job was well done and doesn’t look like the devastation that is seen after a clear cut. There are still a lot of young trees that are growing well now that the canopy is open. We sold 25 loads of timber. I do miss walking in the forest, but with careful stewardship, I will be able to walk in an even healthier forest again within my lifetime.

17 Comments:

Blogger Syd said...

Very interesting, Guy. Answers a few questions I had.

Around here, seems that hardwood is a rare find. Everybody plants pine because it grows fast, 10 yrs to harvest (i think) and then they clear cut. I hate that.

7:41 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Lots of clear cuts here as well. I got by with a thinning, happily.

Alder is a fast growing hardwood here. It's beautiful, and I had a local mill saw two trees for me, now I have enough lumber to build furniture for the rest of my life.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

You are not a tree hugger.
You have proved that.
The views and actions described would put THOUSANDS of Oregonians back to work if we could get past the tree huggers.
But that takes free and rational thought, something of which they boast, but in the final analysis are devoid of.
Good work on the timber harvest!

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you have to pay xtra to have stumps removed?
Thanks

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question as well. When clearing trees, are the stumps suppose to be left or dug out?

3:53 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

With logging there is the right way and there is the cheap and easy way. Yes it cost me more, but hey, I have to live here and so do my neighbors.

On the upper part of the property we left the stumps in and left the slash for the critters. The stumps will degrade quickly if they are not burried. I made sure to plant trees right near the stump for nutrition and for some wind protection.

On the lower section where there was more brush than timber, we did take out some trees, and he did dig the stumps out, dug a pit and burned the slash and the stumps. Then he graded it over and that area is now pasture land. That cost was $60 an hour. He used a track hoe and a skidder with a blade. He even dug another pond for us. It had water all summer, and my origional pond dried up.

All and all, it was well worth the money.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear gearhead,

Have you seen how timber, on a large scale, is harvested? It is no longer done with guys packing chainsaws; it is done with a mechanical harvester. A large scale operation takes only a few workers. So don't put all the blame on us tree huggers, technology plays a roll here too.

9:02 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Speaking of which, have any readers seen what they did to Stave Bolt? Christ, Long Ridge looks like a moon scape and you can see that all the way from 7th street in Astoria, and that's about 10 miles away. And the waste they left behind could have filled several chip bardges.

They did replanted quiclky and all the trees they planted seem to be doing well. It will be nice to see it all green again one day. I find it hard to believe that timber tax revenue is down this year. I can't imagine what they cut in a good year.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

>>>Dear gearhead,Have you seen how timber, on a large scale, is harvested? It is no longer done with guys packing chainsaws; it is done with a mechanical harvester. A large scale operation takes only a few workers. So don't put all the blame on us tree huggers, technology plays a roll here too.<<<

As usual the tree hugger has ABSOUTELY NO CLUE ABOUT REALITY!
Check out:
http://www.cof.orst.edu/cf/forests/blodgett/blodgett_plan/blodpics/pics/Graphics/logger2.jpg

Then:
http://www.cof.orst.edu/cf/forests/blodgett/blodgett_plan/harvest.htm

What material constitutes the frame of your house?

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Gearhead,

Oh my...such hostility and negativity. I never said I didn't use wood products; of course I do. I was simply pointing out that there are many factors in the decline of the timber industry.

Unlike you I have an open mind and I am willing to listen to the opinions of others and respect their views without resulting to petty insults and generalizations.. Take a chill pill.

Love,
Anon

1:22 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

One thing I will point out is that the Anon's are correct that it is now an industry of few. Years ago there were logging camps that employed several, but now these damn machines with one opperator cut the trees, strip the limbs, cut the logs to length, place them on a pile, and pile the slash. There are more people employed in trucking and scaling. The mills are predominately computer and laser mills with a fraction of the employees they once hired.

The labor saving genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back to the days when it was good wages for the masses. Now logging employs reletively few. Yes the wages are good for the few who are left working. But there are many who will never be able to return to the woods.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Automation is not the problem.
Automation is in fact, a great solution.
The problem is the chill-pill popping, tree hugging crowd that has little or no daily contact with natural resourses.
No problem picking up a pen and writing a check to a contractor to build the trophy house. But cut down a tree? Why, that's a crime!
Just tired of the hypocrisy with that ilk.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Automation is not the problem.
Automation is a great solution.
The problem is the chill-pill popping tree hugging BMW driving, berkinstock wearing hypocrits that don't blink at writing a check for the trophy house to keep up with the Jones's.
But cut down a tree? That's a crime!

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Gearhead,

Still more stereotyping and generalizations. So sad.

Love,
Anon

6:22 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Automation is a problem if you are looking for work and you've been replaced by a machine. Yes, it is in a businesses best interest to cut costs, and buying a machine for what you would pay an employee 4 years of wages, and you get ten years of use out of the machine. On the surface it is a good plan. But it is also good business to be loyal to your employees as they should be to you.

I really respect a business that puts people first. So to further my statement, when I buy wood for furniture that I create I don't go to a lumberyard or Home Depot and buy wood that even they have no idea where it comes from. Instead I go to the Olney Mill. You would not believe the selection and probably 1/4 the lumberyard price. They even have figured maple. So, I support locals who cut local trees, drive local trucks and use local mills that don't use computers and lasers.

Now Gearhead, riddle me this, The conservaties have the White House, both Houses of Congress, so why are you all so pissed off?

8:14 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Whos' pissed off?
Im estatic! Thrilled at your logging sale!
And Mr. Anon, I didn't catch the first name; was it Al?

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Gearhead,

This conversation is boring me...

Time to move on..see you on another blog entry..

Love,
Ms. Anon

8:38 PM  

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