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Harvesting small trees- 4-8 inches in diameter at breast height -has not been common in North America, but as average tree size declines, loggers must cut smaller stems. Many softwood stands in the Northeast contain 2000-4000 stems per acre with mean stand diameters of six inches or less (see Fig. 1). If diameter averages ten inches, there may be 6-7 trees per cord, but if it declines to six inches, loggers may handle four times as many trees for the same volume. Handling this increased number of pieces per unit requires changes in operating techniques.
Manual felling and limbing may be cost effective for early thinning of northeastern softwoods. Using regression analysis with observations of 695 trees, models are presented for predicting cutting time based on stem diameter and basal area. When trees were limbed in groups of 2-7 stems, limbing time was reduced by 15% to 40%. The results of other studies of alternative, more efficient chainsaw limbing techniques are discussed.
Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station
early thinning, efficient chainsaw limbing techniques, cutting trees, limbing
Hoffman, Benjamin F. Jr.. 1983. B800: Manual Thinning of Northeastern Species Using Conventional Cutting Methods. Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station Bulletins 800.