Today, the loggers came to harvest some cedar, spruce, pine and poplar from our woods.
We went down the hill with our forester to see the loggers working on our land today. Our property finally froze-in, despite being rather wet, so they were able to get started yesterday. We watched the feller-buncher for a little while. Imagine a machine that neatly “picks” trees, leaving neighboring trees untouched. Turns out that chains for your skidder cost $3k per wheel, and a feller-buncher weighs 20 TONS, a weight necessary to prevent it from just overturning as it snips some trees and moves them to another area
Our land is fairly complicated to work on, since we have lots of streams and seeps moving into a plain ol’ swamp at the very bottom. We want to log the trees we can reach without leaving giant holes and ruts, without damaging root systems, and while leaving some of the best trees to reseed the property as well as some of the gnarliest to nurse those seedlings and to provide habitat (stick-straight regular trees with no holes and no seeds aren’t actually great habitat).
I also find it interesting to look into a world I don’t know well. When a tree is cut down, the best of it is used for high-grade timber. What is unusable for timber might become a fence post, and what can’t be a fence post is pulp, and what can’t be pulp is slash, which will help the ground recover. If a hurricane came through and the forest fell down of its own accord, the slash would shelter the seedlings replacing the lost trees, so leaving the slash makes the open area replenish more naturally, while providing habitat for animals who seek forest transition areas.
Much of the land will regrow into woods, feeding deer and other animals for years to come. Some we will move into pasture, stumping out a few areas. The key is to not bite off more than we can chew, pasture-wise. We need to be able to keep the brush down while the grass begins to grow. As soon as the brush is too thick to be mowed, we’ve lost and it will grow into poor habitat with low-value, low-quality woods.
To see the feller-buncher in action, check out our Instagram page!