Eroded forest road due to poor planning
Best Management Practices After the Timber Harvest

Cleaning debris from the logging site

This web article explains that loggers, foresters, and landowners should remove debris from a recent timber harvest to maintain environmental quality and good appearances.


Remove or scatter debris from worksite and landing

Timber harvesting produces a large amount of woodchips, stumps, unusable logs, and branches. This material is often called "slash." Scatter or remove debris of this type, rather than leaving it mounded. It will look unkempt for a few weeks, but surrounding grass and other vegetation will obscure it from view. Natural debris will break down quickly, returning nutrients to the soil and restoring an ecological balance to the site.

Avoid the temptation to mound woody material and burn it. Because it has been freshly cut, it will not burn well, leaving a smoky, smoldering pile. Smoke from these fires is suspected as a trigger of asthma and other breathing complications. If the pile is dry, a fire can burn out of control, jeopardizing the entire woodlot. Better to scatter slash and let nature take its course.

Some woody material can be sold as firewood or fuel for outdoor wood boilers. Check with neighbors to see if there is interest.

Unnatural debris like trash, tires, beverage containers, paper waste, and metal should be collected and removed from the site. Any trash left on site will likely attract trash from other sources. It would be unfortunate for the current or future landowners to see junk piles where responsible logging should have taken place.

Photo from Jeff Martin WI DNR
Home | Index | Tools for Planning a Harvest | Cornell Cooperative Extension ForestryCornell Cooperative Extension helps forest owners

Please cite source: Cornell Cooperative Extension, 2004
Written by James Ochterski, CCE - Schuyler County