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Small-Scale Forwarding of Firewood & Timber: Cleaner Wood and Healthier For...

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Krawczyk Family Forest

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New Haven, VT

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In conventional logging, a skidder moves logs from the forest to the log landing, dragging the logs over the forest floor. Skidders are designed to move perpendicular to the land’s contour—that’s how they work best. If done under frozen winter conditions, especially with a thick layer of snow on the ground, skidding can be done without damaging forest soils. But such ideal conditions can be hard to come by, and even harder to schedule logging around. If soils are soft and wet, skidding can rut, compress, and erode forest soils, adding sediment to streams and sucking nutrients from the forest.

By contrast, a log forwarder lifts logs onto a trailer and rolls them out of the forest on weight-displacing tires, keeping the soil intact, logs clean, and access paths undisturbed. Because it’s small-scale and light on the land, the forwarding process allows for frequent forays into the forest with minimal disturbance (rather than the conventional, once-every-10-to-15-year big-impact harvest).

Within the current trends in forest ownership and management, woodlots are getting smaller, and logging equipment is getting bigger. This workshop will explore and demonstrate infrastructure that’s more appropriate to small parcel size and small logging projects that get logs and firewood out of the forest economically.

In this workshop, you’ll learn how a small-scale, family forest-sized forwarding operation works. We’ll look at access path layout, trailer capacity, optimal conservation practices, and local capacity for small-scale forwarding. What are the advantages of forwarding? What are its pitfalls?

This workshop will give you the opportunity to see what a small-scale forwarding operation could look like on your land. Weather permitting, you’ll see and learn how to sequence tree felling and limbing, log twitching (positioning them along the forwarding path so that the forwarder can pick them up), and forwarding of logs to a landing/milling area.

The workshop will take place in the New Haven forest of Mark Krawczyk, permaculture designer, traditional woodworker, and natural builder with Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Mark has a pine stand that he’d like to cut and mill on site. He plans to bring in a portable sawmill to his forest to mill the logs once forwarding is complete.

The workshop will be facilitated by Vermont Family Forests executive director and conservation forester David Brynn. We’ll draw upon the expertise of master woodsman Bill Torrey, who brings 35 years of logging experience to the workshop, 20 of which were spent using a forwarder. Local woodsman Dudley Levitt will demonstrate log forwarding.

Our aim is to adapt forest practices to changing climate, with landowners who want careful access to low volumes using small-scale equipment on an established access road network. We consider this workshop an exploration—we don’t have it all figured out, and we’re welcoming the opportunity for conversation.

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Date and Time

Location

Krawczyk Family Forest

details will be sent to participants

New Haven, VT

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