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Timber Harvesting

Skidder Logging Unit

  • Design and locate skid trails and skidding operations to minimize soil disturbance. Using designated skid trails is one means of limited site disturbance and soil compaction.

  • When designated skid trails are compared to "go anywhere" skid trails, there is little difference in winching, but a large difference in the area covered by skid trails

    Research and field experience indicate that designated skid trails may be only slightly more expensive, or even less expensive, than "go anywhere" skid-trails.

    As much as 40 percent of an area may be covered with skid trails if they are not planned and marked in advance. Soil disturbance (left) can reduce the soil's ability to grow trees. Avoid "go anywhere" skid trails that result in erosion and reduced water quality. Poor location of log landing. Logs are being skidded across drainage.

  • Minimize the size and number of landings to accommodate safe, economical operation.
  • Avoid locating landings that require skidding across drainage bottoms.
  • Locate skid trails to avoid concentrating runoff and provide breaks in grade.
  • Locate skid trails and landings away from natural drainage systems and divert runoff to stable areas.
  • Limit the grade of constructed skid trails on geologically unstable, saturated, highly erosive, or easily compacted soils to a maximum of 30 percent. Use mitigating measures, such as cross ditches and grass seeding, to reduce erosion on skid trails.

  • Maintain Productivity and Related Values

    Where major scenic attractions, highways, or recreational areas traverse forestland, give them special consideration by prompt cleanup and regeneration. Also give special consideration to preserving critical wildlife or aquatic habitat. Wherever practical, preserve fruit, nut, and berry trees or shrubs. Plan clear cutting operations so that adequate wildlife escapes cover is within 1/4 mile.

    Avoid conducting operations along bogs, swamps, wet meadows, springs, seeps, draws, or other wet areas, leave buffer strips to protect soil and vegetation from disturbances that damage water quality and quantity, aquatic habitat, and wildlife.
  • Tractor skid when compaction, displacement, and erosion will be minimized.
  • Avoid tractor or wheeled skidding on unstable, wet or easily compacted soils and on slopes that exceed 45 percent unless operation can be conducted without causing excessive erosion. Limit the grade of constructed skid trails to a maximum of 30 percent.
  • Avoid skidding with the blade lowered.

  • Forest soils on steep slopes are often shallow. Scalping off the litter layer removes the soil's protective cover, leaving it exposed to erosion. Don't use the blade as a brake or to improve traction for skidders on steep slopes.

    What happens when the forest litter layer is scraped off?
  • Nutrients for the next crop of trees are removed.
  • Mineral soil is exposed to erosion by rainfall and surface flow.
  • Soil does not retain moisture as well.
  • Ability of the soil to grow trees Is reduced.

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Idaho Forest Products Commission
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