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.