Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Best practices for logging

Careful ways to harvest a woodlot


A neighbor is having some logging done and I've mentioned before that it is unpleasant to watch. I can understand the harvest of mature trees, but I'm aghast at the damage the loggers are doing to the young trees.

It is sickening to see that many good young trees that have been growing for 20 years or more have their tops snapped off and will surely die. Today I saw a stump they had left that must be 8 feet tall -- why?! This logging company is doing a careless, heartless piece of work. Plundering is a word that comes to mind.

When you go into your woodlands and take logs, there are careful ways to do it. The idea is to leave as light a footprint as possible, to avoid compacting the soil, to avoid injuring the trees that you aren't cutting, and to get the largest usable logs possible from the trees you do cut.

Here's a website that gives a quick, short list of General Harvesting Guidelines. A good quantity of information is available on the internet, and of course you also get free advice from your state forestry service and from your county extension agent.

Our neighbor's woods won't be ready to log again for a long, long time because of the damage done to the next generation of trees. Don't make this mistake in your woodlot.


For the sake of the young trees,
leave a light footprint in the woods.

Photograph credit: Going into the woods for another load. Logging camp near Effie, Minnesota. Photograph by Lee Russell for the Office of War Information, about 1944. From the Library of Congress. More information.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

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