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Production, cost, and soil compaction estimates for two western juniper extraction systems



Production, cost, and soil compaction estimates for two western juniper extraction systems



Western Journal of Applied Forestry 21(4): 185-194



Harvesting trials were performed during the winter and spring of 2003-2004 in central Oregon to compare the costs, production rates, and soil compaction impacts of two systems for harvesting western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis). The two systems compared were a conventional system consisting of manual felling, delimbing, and bucking using a chainsaw and skidding logs with a rubber-tired grapple skidder and a mechanical system that used a feller-buncher, a rubber-tired grapple skidder to skid whole trees, and a stroke-boom delimber. Stump to deck harvesting costs ranged from $32.15 to $49.48/ton for the conventional system and from $60.07 to $63.11/ton for the mechanical system. A limited trial was conducted with the mechanical system that merchandized fence posts as well as sawlogs. When fence posts were produced also, stump to deck costs were reduced to $31.56/ton. Soil compaction was measured pre- and postharvest using a soil penetrometer. Paired t-tests showed a statistically significant difference between harvested sites and nonharvested sites at depths of 2 and 4 in. (P = 0.032 and 0.001, respectively) but no difference between harvest systems.

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