Evaluation of a conventional harvesting system for a hardwood restoration project on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
A conventional ground-based harvesting system was evaluated while implementing a shelterwood with reserves silvicultural prescription in a hardwood stand on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The 16.3 acre study unit consisted predominately of chestnut oak (Quercus montana), scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea), and white oak (Quercus alba). Trees 6 inches Diameter at breast height (Dbh) and larger were measured in two felling plots. The mean Dbh was 11.8 inches with an average of 154 trees per acre (TPA). Machines evaluated included a drive-to-tree feller-buncher equipped with a saw head and a grapple skidder. Preliminary analyses revealed the feller-buncher averaged 52.8 green tons/Productive Machine Hour (gt/PMH), while the skidder averaged of 37.6 gt/PMH. Machine rate analyses resulted in an hourly cost of $150.44/PMH for the feller-buncher and $158.63/PMH for the skidder. Unit costs for the feller-buncher ranged from $2.50/gt to $3.44/gt and $4.22/gt for the skidder.