Respect for Habitat & Environment
Sustaining Wildlife Habitat
By providing buffers, using selective harvesting techniques, leaving nesting trees and islands of uncut trees, modern logging practices not only help sustain aesthetic values, but also some species of wildlife. However, some species, like deer, bear and ruffed grouse, thrive on new growth. As one Minnesota logger puts it, "When we're logging, we're creating habitat. The deer follow us around."
Providing a Recreational Resource
More than 800,000 acres of woodlands owned and managed by forest products companies are open to the public for recreational use. Thousands of Minnesotans enjoy these areas for berry picking, hunting, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling and other activities.
"We have found forest industry people to be understanding and very helpful to us in our efforts to maintain the aesthetic values of our forests. We are working together with goodwill and cooperation on both sides."
Judy Hewes, General Manager
Minnesota Resort Association
Recognizing the need to perpetuate aesthetics as well as productivity, the forest products industry and Minnesota's tourism interests are working together toward common goals. Together they have developed Visual Quality Best Management Practices, a set of guidelines designed to improve the visual effects of timber harvesting.
Where forests lie adjacent to recreational trails, lakes, waterways, or near public roads and highways, foresters are working to limit the visual impact of harvest by leaving islands of trees in sight paths and using other techniques recommended by landscape architects. The industry also encourages removal of leftover branches and treetops and starting revegetation as soon as possible after harvest.
Special Equipment Reduces Soil Erosion
The industry encourages use of logging equipment that reduces the impact of harvesting on the forest floor. In fact, such use is a common requirement for contractors engaged in harvesting on sensitive soils. For example, many operations now equip machines with high-flotation tires, three to five feet wide, to distribute weight and prevent slippage.
Today, using just one piece of equipment, loggers can harvest, delimb, scale and cut trees to length, then sort them into separate piles all in one operation. Using one vehicle instead of several reduces traffic flow and minimizes impact on the forest floor.
Light on the Land
New multifunction harvesting equipment, like this Timberjack 1270 cut-to-length harvester, is specially designed to be light on the land. Hydrostatic drive cushioning and special wide-track tires reduce ground pressure to less than that of a hiker's boot.