Factors influencing productivity and cost in the whole-tree harvesting system
Fully mechanized harvesting systems are the most productive and common harvesting systems in the United States. Stem size, stand density, species composition, silvicultural prescriptions, slope/terrain, and operator skill affect the productivity and cost of a harvesting system. Timber harvest expectations of foresters, landowners, and loggers are dependent on these factors. This article describes the factors affecting the productivity of specific harvesting machines used in whole-tree harvesting and impact on harvesting cost. Landowners will understand the common limitations of a timber harvest, and they can be discussed with a forester or logger.