Moving logs through
forest owners find themselves moving large or small logs around
their forests as they cut firewood or clear brush. Tractors and
ATVs make this work less laborious, but erosion problems can occur.
Best management practices for
Cut logs to manageable size.
After a tree is felled, it is ready to be cut up into pieces appropriate
for the final use. If it will be sawn into lumber, each piece
may be 9 feet long or greater. Firewood cutters can cut the logs
into stove length at the stump. You should decide what length
of log will best fit your plans AND capacity. Minimize the size
of the log before moving it. A shorter log will be less likely
to rut the soil, bump and damage other trees, or start rolling
dragging over soft forest soils.
If you are dragging the logs behind your machinery, as most do-it-yourselfers
do, traverse forest soils when they will support the combined
weight of the machine and log. Refrain from moving large logs
until the soil is dry or frozen.
Soft soil, damp soil, or mounds
from wind throws are particularly sensitive to erosion. Build
a segment of corduroy trail where straight limbs are laid perpendicular
to the road, tightly packed together. This kind of structure will
spread out the weight and reduce rutting.
Consider new ATV and tractor-based
equipment to reduce impacts on forest soils.
Logging arches and other devices lift one end of a log (or a bunch
of small logs) off the forest soil, reducing the weight that would
cause ruts. These devices are inexpensive to purchase or can be
welded up by handy forest owners.
low value trees and stumps as bumpers.
Designate some low-value trees as "bumper trees." These
are used to intentionally pivot long logs around a bend without
harming more valuable trees. The inevitable bark damage will not
jeopardize a quality tree.
Use chains on tires.
Chain-covered tires are less likely to slip through forest
soils. They tend to prevent wheels from spinning and forming ruts
that damage tree roots.