Planning for forestry harvesting operations

by Anonymous Author

No forest harvest should ever commence without developing a harvest plan first.

The harvest plan is not just a map; if done well it should be a critical part of the contract with the company, consultant and logger that sets out the expectations in terms of when and how the harvest will be carried out.

Managing safety, for example, how the logger avoids or mitigates known hazards, should be in the plan.

The harvest planning process is complex and has many aspects. It involves several interrelated processes carried out over a large and sometimes highly variable area, often taking several weeks or months to complete.

Money and time spent on effectively planning a harvesting operation are nearly always recovered during the harvesting operation.

Developing a harvest plan begins with understanding the forest being harvested, the intended market for the material and the available resources required to get the material from the forest to the market.

It will finish with the successful completion of the harvesting operation. For simplicity it can be broken down into four main steps:

A detailed harvest plan will typically have two components.

The first part is a document where pre-harvest planning considerations, safety and environmental expectations are all written down to be part of the harvest contract.

For example, if you wish that the logging contractor removes the wood waste from the processing areas, or restore any fences that were pulled down during operations, then this needs to be in the plan and contract. Also, if harvesting needs to stop for stock movement, this should also be shown. It also allows the logger to cost it into their operation.

The second key component of any harvest plan is the map.

It should be a contour map showing as much terrain detail as possible. During the planning process, many different road and landing layout options should be considered so that the best one can be identified.

Modern maps are made in GIS software and can be readily changed or modified as required.