PreHarvest Planning

Why is Planning Important?

PreHarvest planning provides you with the solid foundation to properly layout all-important aspects of your forest management plan. You will need to, with the assistance of a professional, layout access roads, skid trails, stream crossings, and identify those areas that should not be harvested (i.e. too steep, wetlands, streamside management zones).

PreHarvest planning is the most important phase of the entire timber harvest operation. Therefore, taking the time in the beginning to properly plan your harvest will save money, time and protect water quality and soil productivity for generations to come.

The following checklist provides general principles of what PreHarvest planning should entail:

  • Identify and mark the forest harvest boundary and all waterbodies, wetlands, or other sensitive areas within your property. This should first be done on a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) topographic map and then later performed on the ground.
  • Identify and flag special natural resource areas such as sinkholes, wetlands, and springs. These areas play a vital role in keeping water clean and provide habitat for plants and animal species dependent on these unique features. 
  • With the help of a professional, layout access roads, skid trails, and log decks. Keep these to a minimum to reduce the negative impact on your property and save you money. Some roads in the Appalachian Mountains can cost several thousand dollars per mile, so it makes financial sense to take the time to properly plan their location. 
  • Determine the type of logging equipment that will be used and choose those vehicles that will have the least amount of environmental impact. For example, a front-end loader supplemented with a grapple can, walk, up slopes, reduce skid trails, increase the number of logs going to the log deck in a shorter amount of time, and most importantly, reduce environmental impact, saving money and increasing your profit. This harvesting practice is known as shovel logging.
  • Locate and design temporary stream crossings and the type of crossing that is to be implemented (temporary bridge, culvert, fording the stream with geotextiles). 
  • Recognize that some places should not be harvested, especially very steep slopes or fragile terrain. In some cases there are ways to harvest with alternative equipment. See Alternative Harvesting Options
  • Contact an attorney of your choice to prepare a timber sale contract which conforms to your PreHarvest plan. The best way to implement your plan is to put it in writing and make it binding on the logger who ultimately harvests your timber. Click here for a sample contract.















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