Using fuel and other chemicals during a timber
This web article explains
how loggers, foresters, and landowners can store and use potentially
hazardous chemicals in the forest while minimizing the chance
Landowners and loggers
bring a variety of hazardous materials into forests during timber
- Fuel -
Diesel fuel and gasoline to operate skidders, forwarders,
chainsaws, and other power machinery.
- Used to reduce undesirable species of trees and brush.
- Hydraulic fluids, grease, and oil to maintain equipment.
- Used to improve growth of newly seeded areas.
- Occasionally used to control forest insects, slugs, and
If any of these materials
are mishandled or spilled, they can be washed directly into streams
or contaminate forest soil. When fuels and lubricants spill in
a forest, they do not disappear. Rather, they spread out through
the root zone, harming trees and wildlife. Spills of hazardous
materials can carry severe environmental fines and possible imprisonment.
best management practices
Store and transfer
fuels where they will not contact forest soil.
materials, such as matting or basins, to catch spills and leaks
from fuel containers. Designate one refueling area and keep the
protective materials available, rather than scatted throughout
the work site. When refueling a chainsaw, it is better to use
the bed of a truck or even a stump than to have the fuel spill
onto the ground.
Limit the use of
chemicals in woodland settings.
Use less hazardous
alternatives when possible. Recent research in New York is showing
how goats can control undesirable woody plants while providing
livestock income. On days when the forest soil is unsuitable for
logging, check machinery for leaks.
Use fuels and other
chemicals only as the label directs.
Federal law prohibits using a material to kill vegetation or pests
unless it is specifically labeled for that use. For example, although
gasoline will surely kill interfering vegetation, it is illegal
to use it in that way.
Restricted use pesticides
can only be applied by certified applicators.
These personnel have received training to chose and apply chemicals
properly, avoiding drift and runoff that pollutes wetlands and
streams. Landowners are partly responsible for ensuring logging
activities do not cause environmental harm to streams and lake
Keep a chemical
spill kit on site.
A portable spill kit should include absorbent material, clamps
and plugs for leaks, a sturdy catch basin for leaks, digging tools,
and tarps to protect soil during repair jobs.