Harvesting productivity and disturbance estimates of three silvicultural prescriptions in eastern Kentucky
A large scale silvicultural assessment designed to examine the effectiveness of four treatments in reducing the impacts of gypsy moth infestation and oak decline was implemented on the Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky. The study was funded through the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. The goal of the treatments was to improve the health and vigor of the stands through four different thinning prescriptions. Three of the treatments required mechanized harvesting to achieve the desired stand condition, while the fourth treatment utilized herbicices to treat the stand. This paper discusses the productivity of the mechanized harvesting systems and their estimated soil disturbance for each of the three treatments. The harvesting system consisted of a swing-to-tree feller buncher, chainsaw limbing and topping in the woods and skidding with a grappler skidder. Products removed from the stands include a variety of hardwood logs and biomass logs. Harvesting began on the approximately 500 acres of mechanical treatment area in May 2007 and is scheduled to conclude in June of 2009.