Mechanized Harvest with Chipping and Riparian Buffer

Located in the Dry Pond area of Patrick County, VA, this 42-acre tract has a nice mix of open field and woods. A wide stream bisects the property, and the landowners wanted to make sure it remained well-protected by establishing a no-cut buffer zone, what many refer to as an SMZ (streamside management zone). We also planned to establish that acreage as a streamside buffer so that the landowners could take advantage of a tax credit available.

The harvest regime was a bit unusual, and at first-glance perhaps complicated, but sometimes that is the case when trying to achieve a particular outcome. Because this was to be a chipping operation, a high-production, fully-mechanized crew would be cutting the timber. These harvests move very fast, and the feller-buncher operator has to know which trees to cut, and which to leave, and these decisions have to be made quickly. In this case, the harvest parameters were to cut everything other than white oak, beech, and hickory, with supplemental marking (red paint) of certain white oaks to be cut, and additional marking (yellow paint) of other species to be reserved. Confused yet? For this particular tract, it worked quite well.

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