Logging has evolved over many decades through advances in practices, language, and technology. The average tree size, changing market dynamics, and shifting conditions have influenced the logging practices we see today.
As expert logging service providers, we’re well-acquainted with the history of logging. While the advanced technology used now may not be recognizable to traditional foresters, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in all these years: ingenuity and skill.
Modern lumberjacks need to be as skilled as old-time loggers. Skills and knowledge needs have changed with technology and best practices over time. Let’s look at the evolution of logging practices.
What is Logging?
Logging refers to the cutting, processing, and transporting of trees from one location to another. The process may include on-site processing, loading of logs or trees, and skidding. In the supply chain, logging serves as the starting point for various other uses, including consumer paper products, housing, energy, and construction.
Logging is also used in forest management, ecosystem restoration, and reducing wildfire risk. Commercial logging is part of selling pulp or timber. While the pulp is used in paper products, timber is used to make furniture and build homes.
Old Logging Skills
The logging practices of over a century ago included timed cutting, log rolling, tree felling, and horizontal chopping with an ax. These practices were labor-intensive, demanding both animal and human muscle. Traditional logging systems were planned inadequately with no concern for forest sustainability. Improper felling practices also used to cause timber loss and unnecessary safety risks.
Some of the traditional terms used by early loggers included:
- Haywire: it was made from hay-bundling wire. Haywire was an abundant and inexpensive tool to repair different things.
- Barber chair: it referred to a tree splitting upward when falling.
- Skyline: this term was applied to cable logging from 1815 to 1860.
- Homeguard: any long-time worker of a company.
- Log jam: it described a dangerous log situation where logs were caught up on a waterway.
Modern Day Logging
Heavy equipment and chainsaws replaced axes, but modern-day logging remains a highly skilled job. In many ways, today’s loggers need to be more skilled than 20th-century loggers. Modern-day logging requires felling trees and maintaining, repairing, and operating equipment. It also involves the ability to estimate timber, negotiate contracts, market wood and work with a variety of market players, including wood buyers, foresters, and landowners.
Selective Logging: as the name suggests, loggers selectively harvest trees according to a specific plan or objective. This could be seeking out high-value trees or clearing out low-value trees to make more room for high-value trees to grow.
Clear-cutting: clear-cutting isn’t selective. In these cases, loggers harvest all the trees in a given area and create a clearing in the forest. Hence, the name.
Modern Logging Methods
There are three logging methods that carry out operations.
1. Tree-Length Logging
This method involves felling trees and later delimbing and topping the stump. The logs are transported, bucked, and loaded to the landing. Tree-length logging is also called stem-only harvesting because it leaves the tree slashed for further treatment to prevent the risk of wildland fires.
2. Whole-Tree Logging
In this method, plants and trees are felled and moved with their limbs and tops intact. Modern advancements have made things a lot easier for harvesters and loggers. They can delimb, top and buck trees at the landing, and slash is treated at the landing.
The slash can also be chipped to use in heat or electricity production or to create high-quality mulch. Loggers can utilize the whole tree, including the tops and branches.
3. Cut-to-Length Logging
This process involves felling, delimbing, sorting, bucking pulpwood at the stump area, and then leaving tops and limbs in the forest. Loggers fell, delimb and buck the tree and later move the resulting logs to the landing.
Modern-day logging has several uses, including agriculture, mining, development, subsistence farming, and oil and gas extraction. Wood and logs are used to make paper products, wood chips, homes, pencils, packaging products, furniture, and cooking and heating homes.
Get Expert Logging Services in Maine & New Hampshire Today!
Hire family-owned loggers in Maine or New Hampshire for your logging needs. Here at William A. Day Jr. & Sons, our logging services may have evolved, but we remain true to our roots and work ethics. We harvest timber products locally and deliver quality timber to our clients.