Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Bell, Robert D. URN etd-06102012-040431 Title Influences of varying stand harvest methods on timber harvesting costs in southwestern Virginia hardwoods Degree Master of Science Department Forestry Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Hall, Otis F. Committee Chair Shaffer, Robert M. Jr. Committee Member Wengert, Eugene M. Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 1989-05-15 Availability restricted AbstractA method was developed for estimating costs of harvesting operations in the hardwood stands
of the Appalachian region of southwestern Virginia. The method was then tested on one logging
operation to estimate the cost of harvesting a group selection tract as compared to a clearcut.
Eight loggers were contacted and interviewed to obtain data on their costs of logging. The
mean, median, and standard deviation of the responses were calculated to develop a profile. Mean
crew size was three men, including the owner operator. Mechanized equipment consisted of a cable
skidder from 75 to 120 hp. and a small to medium size loader. Average skidder age was 4.8 years.
Loggers produced 144 cords per week, of which 54.6% was pulpwood and 42.4% sawtimber with
3% firewood. Products were hauled an average of 33 miles one way. Labor costs, including wages
and all benefits averaged $411 per man per week. Total harvesting costs had a mean of $2252 per
week. Mean hauling cost was $1289 per week. Annual production averaged 6778 cords. Cords
per man hour was 0.99. Total cost per cord including hauling averaged $26.
The information taken from the interviews was incorporated along with data from current literature
into the Harvesting Analysis Technique (HAT), a main frame harvesting simulator, to
model group selection harvests against clearcut harvests. A twenty-seven acre group selection cut
was compared to a 160-acre clearcut. Clearcut area was based on the access estimated possible by
the group selection skid road network. Results showed group selection harvested at a 21% slower
rate than clearcutting. Harvest cost per cord was 25.8% greater. Variation in cost was caused
mainly by the increased average skid distances present in the groups. Every 100 foot increase in skid
distance resulted in a $0.68 increase in cost per cord for skidding in group selection harvests compared
to a $0.33 increase for clearcutting.
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