Final Report
July 30, 1997

Western Juniper Harvest Systems Comparisons Project

Technical Coordinator and Report Author
Larry Swan, U.S. Forest Service

Technical Reports
Harvesting Western Juniper - A Case Study
Joe McNeel, University of British Columbia

Pre- and Post Harvest Soil Investigations
Eric Nicita, U.S. Forest Service

Project Administration
Klamath County Economic Development Association

The project was funded in part with a grant from the Oregon State Lottery, through the Regional Strategies Fund administered by the State of Oregon Economic Development Department.

Regional Strategy Board Project Sponsors
South Central Region (Lead)
Baker-Malheur Region
North-Central Region

Financial Assistance and Other Contributions Are Gratefully Acknowledged From the Following Companies and Organizations:
Lost River Ranch, Bonanza, Oregon
U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region
High Desert Wood Products, Dairy, Oregon
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
Hessel Equipment Sales, Central Point, Oregon
Danzco Manufacturers, Tenino, Washington
U.S. Forest Service, Winema National Forest
California Equipment Sales, Redding, California
Oregon State University Extension Service
Bureau of Land Management, Klamath Resource Area
Adkins Consulting Engineers, Inc., Klamath Falls, Oregon

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Special Note from the Author

Abstract

Project Purpose

Project Background

Environmental and Social Setting

Historic Harvest and Current Uses

Western Juniper Harvest Practices

Methodology - Harvest Systems Field Trials

Methodology - Harvest Site Impact Evaluation

Results - Post-Harvest Site Impact Evaluation

Implications

References

TABLES

Table 1: Western Juniper Acreage and Volume

Table 2: Post-Harvest Slash and Woody Debris Cover

Table 3: Cost and Production Estimates

Table 4: Lost River Ranch Stand Data Summary

APPENDICES

Appendix A: Harvesting Western Juniper in Eastern Oregon - A Case Study

Appendix B: Pre- and Post-Harvest Soil Investigations

Appendix C: Western Juniper Woodlands Reconnaissance Form, Lost River Ranch, Bonanza, Oregon

Special Note from the Author: This western juniper project, like most previous ones, established a number of "firsts": Based on results from this project, recommended followup includes:

Forwarder Trials in Juniper Harvest - Data and observations need to be collected and analyzed about the use of a forwarder in conjunction with a commercial juniper harvest operation. A forwarder was the only option examined which had immediate potential to reduce harvest costs, at least on paper. Unfortunately, due to insufficient volume and lack of access to a forwarder at the time of the field trials, one was not able to be tested.

Working Prototypes of Juniper-Specific Harvest Equipment - Funding needs to be obtained to develop at least two working prototypes of harvest equipment specific to juniper. It is envisioned that this equipment would delimb and fall juniper at the stump. The results will be similar to "cut-to- length" systems now in use, but equipment design will be much different and costs much lower. Equipment such as this has the potential to reduce harvest costs and improve slash distribution, a critical element in restoration of rangeland habitat. It could also be used in conjunction with a forwarder to access more sites and further reduce costs.

Thank you again for your assistance and support of the Western Juniper Commercialization Project. Please keep in mind that harvest techniques and costs are constantly being worked on, which means the data presented are in a constant state of revision. (See Special Note below)

tball.gif - 1.7 KSpecial Note: Recent experience with the shovel pull-through delimber indicates that production will significantly increase as the operator became more familiar with the operation. It was estimated initially the increase would be "10-20%", which was used to project the numbers in the Cost and Production Estimates table. The current estimate is that production increased around 40%.).

Sincerely,
LARRY SWAN
U.S. Forest Service
Co-Chair, Western Juniper Commercialization Steering Committee

Western Juniper Harvest Systems Comparisons Project

By Larry Swan, U.S. Forest Service

Technical Reports

Joe MacNeel, University of British Columbia

Eric Nicita, U.S. Forest Service


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Abstract

Project Need and Purpose

Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) is the most under-utilized wood fiber resource in Oregon. A number of factors contribute to this situation, but probably the biggest barrier to commercial use is harvest costs: Juniper trees have numerous and large limbs, average volume per acre is much less than current commercial species (such as ponderosa pine or fir), terrain is often rocky, and road systems are primitive. Other major barriers to large-scale use and commercialization include distance from potential markets, lack of industry infrastructure specific to juniper, and market acceptance.

The purpose of this project was to identify and assess harvest systems which already have been tried in western juniper woodlands, what might work which has not been tried, and conduct harvest trials with the best available systems identified. Harvest trial results were evaluated in terms of direct site impacts, production, and production costs. Loggers and landowners with juniper harvest experience were consulted, as well as a harvest systems researcher.

The harvest trials project site was located on property owned by the Lost River Ranch, about six air miles southwest of Bonanza, Oregon. Total project area was about 14.7 acres. Most of the site was considered "above average" for juniper stands with commercial potential: Average height was 33.4 feet, average age at stump height was 89 years, and average diameter at breast height was 12.6 inches. Tree density ranged from 25 to 160 per acre. Average volume per acre ranged from 220 ft3 to 1,175 ft3. Tree canopy prior to harvest ranged from less than 10% in the least dense area to over 60% in the densest area. Groundcover consisted for the most part of a thick carpet of cheat grass (Bromus tectorum). A shrub layer was virtually absent and there was very little juniper in the seedling/sapling size class.

Western Juniper Harvest Systems

At least seven individuals with commercial western juniper harvest experience, as well as a harvest systems researcher, were interviewed to determine what has been tried, what worked, what did not work, and what has not been tried that might work. Based on their input, ten different options involving all phases of a juniper harvest operation were considered for field trials. The two options which appeared most promising for reducing harvest costs were pull-through delimbers and forwarders. A forwarder could not be tested due to insufficient volume and equipment availability.

Harvest Trials Methodology

Baseline data were not available about average cycle times and production for the operational phases involved with juniper harvest. This prevented comparisons between potential harvest system options and made it imperative to obtain baseline data using the most common western juniper harvest system - chainsaws and a grapple-equipped rubber-tired skidder. Harvest operation phases studied included limbing prior to falling (a technique used in juniper to reduce cost and risk to fallers), falling with chainsaws, delimbing with chainsaws, mechanical delimbing, and skidding. Three different pull-through delimbers were examined in the mechanical delimbing phase.

Two variables were used to evaluate direct site impacts of the harvest systems investigated: 1) Soil bulk density changes; and 2) Ability to distribute slash (limbs and other logging debris) evenly about the site. A third variable, success of grass seeding, could not be evaluated due to project and report timelines. A total of nine exclosures were erected after harvest to provide control plots for monitoring site response.

Harvest Trials Results

There was no significant production difference between a harvest system which used chainsaws to delimb juniper and a system which used a pull-through delimber. Both averaged about 1.7 tons of juniper per hour, at an estimated cost of $27-$29 per green ton. Production results were considered on the "low end" by both the logging systems researcher (MacNeel 1996) and the logging contractor (W. McGee personal communication). The logging contractor reports that a production increase of 10-20% can be expected as a shovel operator becomes more familiar with the pull-through delimber. (Special Note: The logging contractor recently revised this estimate to around 40%, based on additional production experience with the delimber.)

Performance of the three pull-through delimbers used in these trials differed substantially. The skidder pull-through delimber was least effective with juniper. Limb size and length hindered proper loading and actuation of a set of hydraulic knives. There were various reasons why one shovel pull-through delimber performed better with juniper than the other. These included: Larger, heavier, and taller platform; longer knives; and self-centering head. All three pull-through delimbers appeared suitable and capable of delimbing trees with smaller limb diameters and lengths.

A total of 398 trees were removed, which represented roughly two-thirds of the total standing before harvest (average 82 trees/acre pre-harvest and 27 trees/acre post-harvest). There was very little difference in bulk densities before and after harvest operations, even though post-harvest sampling was biased towards high impact areas, such as landings and skid trails. Surface organic matter actually increased due to needle cast from whole tree skidding and redistribution of mechanically-delimbed slash from a central landing. Slash was better distributed in the area that was delimbed with chainsaws (average cover 65%) than those areas where trees were whole-tree skidded to a central landing, mechanically-delimbed, and slash redistributed back out into the unit (average cover less than 15%).

Implications

Inventory - Research conducted for this project highlighted the sparse and often times incompatible nature of western juniper inventory data. It will be difficult to convince companies to invest significant amounts of capital without better inventory data. Key questions are: 1) How much is there?; 2) What is the quality?; 3) Where is it located?; and 4) How accessible is it (considering physical, geographic, legal, and social factors)?

Existing Juniper Harvest Systems - Western juniper harvest is expensive (averaging $25-$30 per green ton). No one piece of equipment was identified which will solve all or most of the cost and production issues in western juniper. It appears that incremental production increases and cost reductions may be possible through use of different arrangements of conventional systems, but significant increases in production will require more capital investment. For example, the only significant decrease in harvest costs was projected with use of a forwarder. Actual field trials were not conducted with one due to the volume and acreage required. It is estimated a harvest operation using a forwarder would require at least 1,500-2,000 acres per year of medium- to high-density juniper woodlands (50-150 trees per acre, averaging 12-14 inches diameter at breast height).

Slash Dispersal - The ability to evenly disperse juniper slash is critical to meet the goal of improving rangeland habitat through commercial harvest. This is difficult to effectively and economically accomplish using a harvest system which relies on a rubber-tired skidder and grapple. Several methods were tried to improve slash dispersion, none of which worked well. Options to improve slash dispersal were discussed with various government personnel and private industry. Analysis suggests that more limbs can be left on-site without major modification of systems already in use, or a significant negative impact on costs and production.

Mechanical Harvest Impacts on Juniper Woodlands Soils - Some concern has been expressed about the impacts of mechanical harvest on soil types found in western juniper woodlands. Based on the results of this project, minimal impacts are expected on dry clay loam and clay soils. These soil conditions are encountered most frequently in the late summer and early fall, when soil moisture is historically at a minimum.

Harvest Equipment Specifically Designed for Juniper - Several loggers with extensive commercial juniper harvest experience believe what is needed is a piece of harvest equipment which will delimb juniper "on the stump" and cut it. The advantages of such a system are that labor costs will be reduced, personal safety improved, and slash dispersal improved. Costs would be comparable to a shovel/pull-through delimber combination ($75-$80,000). There is no way yet to estimate production because there is no equipment like this on the market.

Western Juniper Harvest Systems Comparisons Project

By Larry Swan, U.S. Forest Service

Technical Reports

Joe MacNeel, University of British Columbia

Eric Nicita, U.S. Forest Service


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Project Purpose

The purpose of this project was to identify and assess harvest systems which have already been tried in western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) woodlands, what might work which has not been tried, and conduct harvest trials with the best available systems identified. Harvest trial results were evaluated in terms of direct site impacts, production, and production costs. Loggers and landowners with juniper harvest experience were consulted, as well as a harvest systems researcher.

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Project Background

Western juniper is the most under-utilized wood fiber resource in Oregon. A number of factors contribute to this situation, but probably the biggest barrier to commercial use is harvest costs: Juniper trees have numerous and large limbs, average volume per acre is much less than current commercial species (such as ponderosa pine or fir), terrain is often rocky, and road systems are primitive. Other major barriers to large-scale use and commercialization include distance from potential markets, lack of industry infrastructure specific to juniper, and market acceptance.

This project was formulated and designed by members of the Western Juniper Commercialization Steering Committee, a loosely-organized cooperative venture of the U.S. Forest Service, Wood Products Competitiveness Corporation, Inc. (WPCC), and Oregon State University Extension. Steering Committee membership is composed of wood products industry representatives (small, medium, and large companies), government agencies, private landowners, and non-profit economic development and environmental organizations.

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Environmental and Social Setting

There are approximately 3.8 million acres of western juniper woodlands (defined as having at least 10% juniper canopy cover) within the species' primary range of eastern Oregon, northeastern California, and southwestern Idaho. About 58% of this acreage is on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, State, Indian tribes, and other Federal agencies, and about 42% is privately owned. There are literally millions of acres more of scattered juniper and areas in which young juniper are just now becoming apparent on standard resolution aerial photography.

Western juniper is the least-utilized wood fiber resource in this region. Total woodland volume is estimated to be at least 691 million cubic feet, of which about 39% is on private lands and 61% is on public lands. Volume data do not include western juniper within commercial forest lands or other forested lands. Table 1 (Western Juniper Acreage and Volume) summarizes for the first time unpublished and published western juniper inventory data collected by the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Range and Experiment Station, Portland (Oregon and California) and Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, Utah (Bolsinger 1989; Chojnacky 1991; Gedney personal communication; Woudenberg personal communication).

The area dominated by Western juniper represents a three- to ten-fold increase since the late 1800s. Reasons for this expansion are complex, but generally involve absence of fire, domestic livestock grazing, and short term changes in climatic patterns. Richard Miller, Oregon State University, states that western juniper stands appear denser today than at any time during the past 5,000 years (personal communication). Expansion appears to have slowed in California and much of Oregon, but field investigations indicate a continuation of the trend in some areas (Eddleman personal communication).

The expansion and increasing density of western juniper woodlands greatly concern private landowners, government land managers, and scientists. Many juniper-dominated sites show clear evidence of watershed degradation, loss of site productivity, decrease in forage production, loss of wildlife habitat, and over-all reduction in biodiversity (Eddleman 1995; Bedell et al. 1993).

Numerous private landowners undertake juniper clearing operations every year in eastern Oregon and northeastern California. In total, clearing operations probably average about 10,000 acres per year or less, which can be extrapolated to an estimated 2.2 million cubic feet of juniper fiber(1) (Okholm personal communication; Gedney in Haugen 1993). Eddleman offers an estimate of around 40,000 acres of western juniper woodlands treated over the last 10 years (Eddleman et al. 1995 in Miller et al. 1995:9). Due to lack of demand and markets, as well as economics, the juniper removed is often piled and burnt, or simply left to decompose after being knocked-down or cut. Government agencies are currently less active in clearing juniper than private landowners, due to concerns about legal challenges and lack of funding for such projects.

Clearing operations are expected to continue despite a decrease in government subsidies. According to Tom Birch, a Forest Service scientist who summarized data from a national study of forested land owners and their harvest plans, there are probably at least 3,000 ranchers in Oregon and California who plan to thin their juniper woodlands within the next 10 years, at a minimum cost of more than 13 million dollars (personal communication about unpublished research data).(2)

As one rancher puts it: "I feel like I'm buying my land a second time due to costs of beating back the juniper." (Otley personal communication).

Table 1: Western Juniper Acreage and Volume: E. Oregon, NE California, and SW Idaho
Eastern Oregon Northeastern California Southwestern Idaho Totals
Acres and Volume (ft3) Public Private Subtotal Public Private Subtotal Public Private Subtotal
WJ Woodland Acres1 1,040,000 1,224,000 2,264,000 970,000 315,000 1,285,0002 226,512 48,031 274,543 3,823,543
WJ Vol. in Woodlands (ft3) 224 MM 217 MM 441 MM3 175.9 MM 47.3 MM 223.2 MM 22.7 MM 4.8 MM 27.5 MM4 691.7 MM
Timberland Acres With WJ5 ? ? 285,000 ? ? ? 0 0 0 ?
WJ Vol. in Timberlands (ft3) ? ? ? ? ? 37.0 MM 0 0 0 ?

References

1 Western juniper woodlands defined in Eastern Oregon and NE California as having at least 10% juniper crown canopy. Western juniper woodlands in Idaho as forest land where timber species, such as pine and fir, make up less than 10% of the stocking. Return to Table

2 Includes 30,000 ac. of public "reserved" lands, on which commercial activities would normally be prohibited or permitted only in very specific cases. Return to Table

3 California and Oregon western juniper volume includes volume of main stems of trees 5.0 in. DBH and larger, from a 1-ft. stump to a 4-in. top (DIB) Return to Table

4 California relationship of utilizable main stem volume (see Footnote 3 above) to total main stem volume was calculated and applied to Idaho data total main stem volume data, to obtain estimate of utilizable main stem volume (Bolsinger; personal communication) Return to Table

5 California and Oregon timberland definition not provided. Timberlands in Idaho defined as forest land where timber species (excluding pinyon, juniper, aspen, cottonwood, and birch) make up at least 10% of the stocking. Return to Table



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Historic Harvest and Current Uses

The majority of western juniper harvested over the years has been used for fence posts and firewood. There are reports going back at least 50 years of mills which tried to commercially process the species (Loveness personal communication). The research literature indicates temporary interest in the 1950s for use in composites and extractive oil, and some interest in the late 1970s due to the perception of an energy crisis.

The most successful western juniper operation of any size was a mill owned and operated by Gary Gumpert in Prineville in the mid to late 1970s (five to 10 employees). Primary product emphasis was interior paneling, but other products were made in the course of refining the panel product (such as furniture and mantel pieces). At the time the mill was sold, about one-third of the production was juniper and the remainder incense cedar (Gumpert personal communication).

Probably the greatest use of juniper over the last 10 years has been as a source of fuel for power generation. In the early to mid-1990s, at least a thousand acres of juniper woodlands in northeastern California were harvested for power generation biomass (Ward personal communication). Power generation markets for juniper have virtually disappeared over the last several years though, due to changes in laws at the state level governing alternative power purchases.

Beginning in 1992, there has been a steady increase in manufacturer interest and market trials due to the activities of the ad hoc Western Juniper Commercialization Steering Committee. Confirmed markets now exist for chips, veneer, logs for log homes, landscape timbers, decking, flooring, interior paneling, doors, cabinetry, furniture, store displays, and novelties. There are between five and 10 "cottage industry" size (fewer than 2 employees) and one medium-size manufacturer (about 10 employees) who consistently use juniper for value-added products.

Currently in Oregon, there are about five portable mills (average production less than 2,000 board feet per day when running) and one medium-size mill (average production 20,000 board foot per day) which cut juniper on an inconsistent basis. Total aggregated lumber production at this time is estimated to average around 10-15,000 board feet per month. Chipping operations also utilize the species if convenient and if it has good form, but make no special effort to obtain it.

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Western Juniper Harvest Practices

Sporadic commercial harvest of western juniper over the last 10-20 years has mainly been accomplished with conventional logging equipment - chainsaws and rubber-tired skidders. More highly mechanized chipping operations have tried using shears. However, the butt swell of many juniper exceeds the capabilities of normal shears and the job often has to be completed with chainsaws (Larson personal communication). One operator was reported to use a D-9 cat to uproot juniper, which were then whole-tree skidded to a landing for chipping (Vanderpol personal communication).

A "stroke" delimber, owned and operated by Huffman-Wright Logging and Road Contractors, was tried on about 100 trees in the summer of 1993. The delimber was effective, but the sample was limited to "saw log" quality trees(3). It averaged about one tree per minute. Material was whole-tree skidded to a central landing by a rubber-tired skidder. Issues noted at the time included: 1) How to dispose of the slash piles created?; 2) How to modify the skidding operation to keep up a steady supply of trees for the delimber (two skidders would be necessary because of the short-term storage problem created by "whole trees" versus "logs"); and 3) How to delimb the trees which are not saw logs? (Swan 1993).

High prices for chips in summer and fall of 1995 ($100+ per bone dry ton in the Klamath Falls area versus $55 per bone dry ton today) led some loggers to consider more sophisticated and expensive equipment, such as forwarders, to expedite yarding. A sharp decrease in chip prices in late 1995 and early 1996 reduced the economic viability of such operations, at least in western juniper. It has been estimated that chip prices have to be in the $70-80 per bone dry ton range to make juniper harvest and chipping a viable economic enterprise (H. McGee personal communication).

Western Juniper Harvest System Background Research

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Selection Criteria for Field Trials

The criteria used to determine whether or not a harvest technique or piece of machinery was field tested were:

- Availability - Was the equipment or service available, and was the owner or provider willing to cooperate with the Western Juniper Steering Committee?

- Cost - Was the cost associated with the equipment or service economically feasible for the harvest trials, and was the cost economically feasible given current knowledge about other western juniper harvest costs, markets , trends, and site conditions?

- Durability - Did the equipment appear able to operate reliably in conditions normally encountered in western juniper woodlands (e.g. rocky surface conditions) and around juniper slash (e.g. long, large flexible limbs which become entangled with machinery parts)?

- Safety - Did the equipment appear safe to use given the conditions normally encountered in western juniper woodlands and during the normal operating season (May - November)?

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Harvest System Phases and Alternatives Explored

Each phase of a juniper harvest operation was examined and a variety of alternatives explored:

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Falling: Shear/Cutting Head - It was suggested by some that a shear or cutting head be used to reduce time spent falling juniper and to increase safety. To paraphrase McNeel:

Fallers are often required to spend considerable time delimbing standing juniper and clearing limbs from around the bole prior to falling, to allow them access to the bole and a safe escape route. This requires two to six minutes per tree, depending on the quantity of limbs. Stem form and limb structure also sometimes make the tree butt bounce up after falling, creating a hazard and adding time necessary to delimb the tree .

McNeel, a harvest systems researcher now at the University of British Columbia, suggested looking specifically at the Rome Industries' Series RD Directional Tree Shears (up to 30-inch capacity) (Cedartown, Georgia) or the Kochring Waterous F Series Directional Falling Saw (up to 34-inch capacity) (Brantford, Ontario, Canada). Units with larger capability shears were suggested because of previous experience using shears on western juniper; use of smaller shears (less than 24-inches capability) results in high stumps (up to four feet), which in turn significantly decreases fiber recovery. In addition, equipment used to its maximum design capabilities on an everyday basis causes maintenance problems (McNeel personal communication).

Neither the shears or cutting head options were pursued for the harvest field trials. Little new knowledge was expected to be gained by using shears. For example, based on previous experience, costs and production can be estimated, and certain design modifications recommended (such as improved hydraulic line and operator protection, as well as shears capable of handling large flared butts). The cutting head option was not pursued because of fire danger concerns. Most harvest operations in juniper woodlands occur during fire season. The combination of rocky conditions, flashy fuels (e.g. cheat grass) and a saw which throws off sparks when rocks are hit, created an unacceptable risk.

Falling Bar - One suggestion to save time during manual falling was to use a falling bar instead of wedges. It was thought a falling bar might decrease time spent hammering in wedges, and reduce the amount of equipment carried by the faller. Juniper often requires wedging because it has long, heavy limbs, which leaves it balanced after the undercut and backcut are completed. Wedging can increase the time necessary to fall juniper 10-20%. Falling bars are new to the Western U.S., but common in Scandinavia. Sandvik, a Swedish company, makes several models available through specialty saw shops.

A falling bar was not available in time for harvest trials. One was purchased and used though during a western juniper harvest operation in the summer of 1997. The faller who used it thought there was potential with more experience to save time in certain diameter ranges and increase safety. The bar appeared to work best with trees 10-14 inches in diameter at stump height; much smaller and there was insufficient room for the saw - much larger and the bar would bend.

The faller especially liked how the bar handle would "telegraph" tree movements. As the back cut widened (tree beginning to fall), the orange handle on the bar would go down noticeably - as the back cut narrowed (tree sitting back on the saw), the handle would go up. The faller also thought the bar worked well with a swamper, who would apply leverage at the appropriate time and allow the faller to keep both hands on the saw (W. McGee personal communication).

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Delimbing: Probably the most significant production issue in juniper is how to economically remove the numerous large and flexible limbs. This issue received the most attention during the harvest trials conducted for this project. Several options were considered:

Professional Faller - A professional faller can fall and partially delimb a juniper in about six minutes, which means this part of the harvest operation costs on average $2.75-$3.25 per tree(4). Further delimbing is required at the landing. A faller who is only "competent" probably takes at least a third more time. Juniper is time consuming to manually delimb because of the number and size of limbs, and difficulty in accessing more than two sides of the bole in one pass. More care also has to be taken with juniper because its limbs elevate the tree bole after falling, which makes it difficult to walk on and limb three sides, as is commonly done with other commercial species. Because the bole is elevated, it also has a tendency to roll as limbs are removed.

Stroke Delimber - A "stroke delimber" was tried with juniper in 1993 (see Previous Western Juniper Harvest Practices). Initial indications were that it worked well with the material provided, but might experience difficulty with "average form" juniper (more limbs and taper). Concerns expressed during the stroke delimber trials included:

- "Pull-Out" - There was more fiber "pull-out" around knots than was desired.

- Insufficient Power - The hydraulic system did not provide enough power to hold juniper against the butt plate as limbs were sheared off.

- Capital Investment/Operating Costs - A used unit with sufficient power to handle large, flexible limbs costs $150-$200,000 used. This size capital investment, along with normal operating costs, appeared high for the prices currently being obtained for juniper.

- Short-Term Raw Material Stockpiling Logistics - It was difficult to store enough "whole trees" near the machine to maintain production.

- Slash Disposal - It was difficult to work around the huge slash pile accumulated within just an hour of production.

It was not considered necessary to include a stroke delimber in the current project due to existing knowledge and previous experience.

Pull-Through Delimbers - One type of delimber not previously tried with juniper was a "pull-through" delimber (also sometimes referred to as a "pedestal mount delimber"). A pull-through delimber consists of a delimber head mounted on some type of platform. Either a "shovel" (also referred to as a "knuckleboom loader" or "heelboom loader") or a skidder, depending on the type of pull-through delimber being used, "pulls" the tree through a set of hydraulically-actuated knives. Two pull-through pedestal-type delimbers were obtained for the harvest trials (Danzco and CTR) as well as a skidder pull-through delimber (Danzco). Sales literature for the delimbers used in the trials are included in Appendix E (Sales Literature), in the hard copy of this report.

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Skidding: Four options, in addition to the conventional rubber-tired skidder, were considered for the juniper harvest trials:

Forwarder - Use of a forwarder was suggested several years ago at a time when chip prices were over $100 per bone dry ton. The overall system envisioned at that time included professional fallers, a crew of lower-paid laborers to delimb the trees, and a forwarder to aggregate loads and reduce skidding costs on a per unit basis. The machine suggested was a Timberjack 1210 (asking price about $340,000). Load capacity is 15 tons, which translates to about 35-40 average-size commercial quality juniper. On paper, the forwarder option appears viable, with a per unit cost about half of traditional methods ($4-5/tree delivered to the landing versus $8-10/tree) (see Table 3, Cost and Production Estimates).

The forwarder option could not be pursued for this project because 1) there were no forwarders available at the time the harvest trials were conducted, and 2) there was not sufficient volume available in the harvest trial unit. Economic use of the forwarder might require 8-10 loads per day, which amounts to 280-320 logs. Two full days of operations would have completely thinned the approximately 15 acres used for harvest trials, preventing comparisons with other techniques and equipment.

All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Equipped With Arch - ATV's have been used with an "arch" to skid small trees (average 8-12 inch large end diameter) during thinning operations. An "arch" is a piece of equipment towed by the ATV which elevates one end of the log while it is being transported.

The ATV/arch combination was initially considered attractive due to low cost and the fact that at least one ATV can be found on most ranches and farms. The reasons this unit was not included in the juniper harvest trials were: 1) Concern about the durability of key mechanical components, such as transmissions; 2) Lack of armoring of key mechanical components; 3) Lack of operator protection from slash; and 4) Lack of enthusiasm of the juniper harvest logging contractor. Easier access to an ATV/arch combination and more local experience might have resulted in this equipment being used during trials.

Farm Tractor - It was suggested that the common farm tractor could be adapted to skid juniper. Use of a farm tractor to skid small logs is common in other areas of the U.S., especially in the Midwest, and in Europe. Most ranches and farms have at least one tractor which is used for miscellaneous jobs. This skidding option was not pursued for many of the same reasons as the ATV combination, such as lack of armoring of key mechanical components. Two concerns specific to farm tractors were inadequate tires (insufficient plies) and high center of gravity.

According to Walt McGee, High Desert Wood Products, who has extensive experience logging juniper stands: "If we're constantly having to repair and maintain heavy-duty skidders when working in juniper, what do you think will happen to your average farm tractor?" A farm tractor was made available by Lost River Ranch for the harvest trials, but the logging contractor did not believe the potential for new information gained warranted the risk of damaging the machine.

Stock - Several people suggested taking a look at use of stock, such as horse and mule teams. This option was not feasible given the layout of the harvest unit chosen and time available. There was also some concern about cost, but no comparisons were made.

Rubber-Tired Skidder (RTS) With Grapple - The RTS With Grapple option was chosen for a number of reasons: 1) Skidders are commonly available; 2) High capital investment is not usually required (used skidders range from $20-40,000); 3) Skidders are designed to be used where there is slash, rock, and stumps; 4) Tires are multi-ply and able to withstand some rock; 5) There is good operator protection from slash being tossed up into the cab; and 6) A grapple can be used to remove slash when juniper is mechanically delimbed, and then redistributed out into the harvest unit.

Project Site Selection, Description, and Layout

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Site Selection Criteria

The criteria used to select the harvest systems comparison project site were:

- Private Ownership - A site on private land was preferred in order to eliminate time and costs associated with Federal environmental review processes. Also, Oregon Forest Practice Act rules and regulations do not apply to western juniper harvest because it is not considered a commercial species.

- Road Access - An established road system was required to move equipment, transport logs, and reduce maintenance costs.

- Volume and Acres - At a minimum, between 5-10 truckloads (about 100-200 tons) of logs from no more than 15-20 acres were required to ensure that harvest trials were conducted in an economically viable situation.

- Environmental Concerns - A site was required where there were no obvious environmental "red flags", such as wetlands, live drainages, cultural resources, "threatened/endangered" species, and noxious weeds.

- Topography and Surface Rock - A site was preferred that had less than 20-25% slope and 10-20% surface rock.

Four sites were reviewed with the logging contractor, High Desert Wood Products, in the vicinity of Bonanza, Oregon. Three of the four were also reviewed with Bill Hopkins, Forest Service Zone Ecologist. One site was eliminated due to the presence of medusahead (Taeniatherumcaptu-medusa), a noxious weed, and one site because of low volume per acre. The one chosen of the two remaining appeared to best fit the criteria described above.



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Project Site Description

Harvest trials were conducted on about 14.7 acres of western juniper woodlands owned by the Lost River Ranch, approximately six miles southwest of Bonanza, Oregon. The project site is situated on a portion of the west-facing slope of a low-lying peninsula of western juniper woodlands. The peninsula is surrounded on three-sides by irrigated pasture and crop lands, and on one side by a paved road. Three small ephemeral drainages are present in the northwest portion of the project site.

Prior to harvest, western juniper entirely dominated the overstory, ranging from 25-35 stems/acre in the lowest density area to 120-160 stems/acre in the highest density area. Shrub cover was sparse, consisting of a few big sage brush (Artemesia tridentata) and current (Ribes sp.). A dense carpet of cheat grass (Bromus tectorum) dominated the groundcover. Medusahead (Taeniatherum captu-medusa), a noxious weed, was observed in patches adjacent to the project site and was sparsely present in a small area of scabrock in the northwest corner of the project site. No harvest activities occurred in areas with medusahead.

Juniper canopy cover was less than 10% in the low density area and greater than 60% in the high density area. Average age of the junipers on site was 89 years at stump height (average age at breast height was 77 years). No trees were cored that were older than 90 years. Average diameter at breast height was 12.6 inches, with a range from less than two inches (seedlings/saplings) to 24.7 inches. Average height was 33.4 feet, with a range from seedlings/stump sprouts to 48 feet. Site index according to Sauerwein (1982) was 33, which is considered a good site(5). Volume per acre ranged from 220-1,175 ft3. Juniper reproduction was extremely sparse. Older junipers are present just east of the project site in an area of scab rock, however ages were not determined. Based on previous experience, they appeared to be at least 200 years old.

The wooded peninsula on which the project area is located is currently used by Lost River Ranch for winter feeding of cattle. Most of the feeding occurs east of the project site, on top of the peninsula. According to Bill Kennedy (ranch owner), cattle are normally moved into the area in November and moved off in March. A small herd of horses (five) grazes the larger peninsula area during the summer. There was little evidence of domestic livestock grazing observed at the time harvest operations were conducted (few cow trails and very little manure).

A resident herd of deer probably utilizes the project site more than domestic livestock, as well as deer which migrate through in the fall and spring. Over 12 were consistently in the area, and up to 30 were seen after the first cold snap and right after mechanical harvest operations were completed in the middle of October.

According to Mr. Kennedy, prior to conversion to a cattle operation about 40 years ago, the area was intensively grazed by sheep. It is surmised that previous vegetation was characterized by a few old growth juniper in the scabrock along the spine of the peninsula, and a bitterbrush/big sagebrush/bunchgrass plant association. Landowner objectives were to increase forage for domestic livestock, and maintain forage and cover for deer.

More detailed information on the environmental setting, especially silvicultural characteristics, is attached in Appendix C (Site Reconnaissance Summary) in the hard copy of this report. Detailed soil information is available in Appendix B (Pre- and Post-Harvest Soil Investigations) in the hard copy of this report.

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Harvest Layout

The site was divided into three areas, corresponding to obvious differences in soils and juniper density: 1) Low Stand Density (approximately 25-49 trees/acre); 2) Medium Stand Density (approximately 50-99 trees/acre); and High Stand Density (approximately 100-160+ trees/acre).

The following marking guidelines were used to implement landowner objectives:

- Screening - "Break" line of sight by maintaining screening along fencelines, and between the paved road and the project.

- Leave Tree Grouping - Leave scattered groups of three to seven juniper, averaging five to seven groups per acre, depending on the opportunities.

- Leave Tree Selection - Leave trees with complex crowns, multi-stems above DBH, grain twist, large butt swell, and deep bark seams. Leave all old growth and trees with cavities (none were found within the unit).

Leave trees were initially marked with standard tree marking paint. This was found to be time consuming and paint visibility was poor due to low limbs. "Leave tree groups" were then flagged instead. After harvest of the first two to three acres, "leave tree" density was increased 10-20% to ensure shelter and cover for domestic livestock.

An existing dirt road through the middle of the unit was used for access and some skidding. An open area in the center of the unit was used for a central landing. All mechanical delimbing was conducted at the central landing. Slash which was mechanically delimbed was removed by a skidder equipped with a grapple, and distributed back out into the unit.

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Methodology - Harvest Systems Field Trials

Data were gathered during the harvest system field trials under the supervision of Joe McNeel, Harvest Systems Researcher, University of British Columbia. Detailed discussion of his methods are provided in Appendix A (Harvesting Western Juniper in Eastern Oregon) in the hard copy of this report. His primary objectives were to obtain baseline data about average productivity of a conventional harvest system in western juniper woodlands by phase, and compare and contrast manual and mechanical delimbing. There were no anecdotal accounts or published work available concerning these objectives.

The juniper harvest phases investigated included "limbing prior to falling" (n = 64), manual falling using chainsaws (n = 21), manual delimbing using chainsaws (n = 9), mechanical delimbing (n = 59), and skidding (n = 14). Data were gathered using conventional time and motion study techniques. Cycles were defined for each phase and then entered into a spreadsheet for basic statistical analysis. Complete cycle time estimates were developed after average cycle times were estimated. All portions of the harvest operation were documented using still photography and video.

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Methodology - Harvest Site Impact Evaluation

Two variables were used to evaluate direct site impacts of the harvest systems investigated: 1) Soil bulk density changes; and 2) Ability to distribute slash (limbs and other logging debris) evenly about the site.

Soil Bulk Density - Soils are often thin and rocky in western juniper woodlands, and some concern has been expressed regarding impacts of mechanical harvest options. This project was the first time bulk density was sampled pre- and post-harvest in western juniper woodlands.

Sampling was stratified based on the three stand densities observed. Bulk density control values were collected using two randomly-placed 10-point transects in the low- and medium-density stands. Values were not obtained for the high-density stand due to the inability of the core sampler to penetrate the rocky soils. Following harvest operations, sampling was biased towards identifying the highest possible impacts. Samples were taken from: 1) High traffic skidder and delimbing trails on the central landing; 2) Skid trails in the low- and medium-stand density areas; and 3) Between skid trails in the medium-stand density area. Only skid trails were sampled after harvest in the low-stand density area due to lack of harvest traffic. (see Appendix B in the hard copy of this report for details, Pre- and Post-Harvest Soil Investigations).

Slash Distribution - Preliminary results of research by Washington (1996), Miller (personal communication), Eddleman (personal communication) and others indicate the importance of slash utilization and distribution to rehabilitate juniper woodland sites which lack understory vegetation and cover. Slash provides organic material and key minerals as it deteriorates, decreases surface temperature fluctuations (improves seed germination and growth), provides a mechanical barrier to protect young plants from grazing, decreases surface erosion, and provides habitat for small animals. Some piles may be left for animal habitat and cover, however it appears critical to distribute slash evenly around the harvest area and separate clumps to realize the potential benefits.

Percent of woody debris or slash cover was recorded in pre-harvest (n=7) and post-harvest plots (n=9). Each plot was 1/5 acre. Sampling was stratified to reflect the three different tree densities observed, as well as the one small scabrock area in the northwest portion of the unit.

A third variable, success of pre-harvest seeding, could not be evaluated due to project timelines. About 325 lbs. of grass seed (dryland-pasture mix(6)) were manually spread over the approximately 14 acre harvest unit with a "belly grinder" type of seeder, for an approximate distribution of 27 lbs. per acre. A log was dragged around the site after completion of skidding to assist with seed germination.

A total of nine exclosures (three-foot diameter) were erected in March, 1997, to monitor seeding success and native grass/forb reproduction over the next couple of years. Three were located within each of the three pre-harvest stand densities. Of the three in each pre-harvest stand density area, one was located in an open, disturbed area with some slash cover (such as a skid trail), one in an open disturbed area without slash cover, and one in an afternoon-shaded area without slash cover. Exclosures were not placed on bundles of slash or areas where slash was so thick that sunlight could not penetrate to the ground surface.

Results - Harvest System Trials

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Baseline Average Productivity

McNeel's data do not indicate a significant difference between a conventional harvest system in which chainsaws are used to delimb juniper, and the mechanical delimber option. Both averaged about 1.7 tons per hour of production.

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Mechanical Delimber Comparisons

Performance of the three pull-through delimbers used in these trials differed substantially (for a more complete description, see Appendix A, Harvesting Western Juniper, p. 4) in the hard copy of this report. The skidder pull-through delimber was least effective with juniper. Limb size and length hindered proper loading and prevented actuation of the hydraulic knives. There were various reasons why the CTR shovel pull-through delimber performed better than the Danzco:

- Weight and Length - The CTR is heavier and longer than the Danzco, which makes it more stable.

- Knife Length - The CTR has longer knives than the Danzco, which enables it to cut through typical juniper limb diameters (3-6 in.).

- Self-Centering Head - The CTR has a self-centering head, which assists in reducing delimbing time.

- Height - The CTR has a taller configuration than the Danzco, which because of the long limbs commonly encountered with juniper, enables a straighter pull-through motion by the shovel and permits more slash to accumulate before being moved.

All three pull-through delimbers appeared suitable and capable of delimbing trees with smaller limbs, such as lodgepole and ponderosa pine, hemlock, spruce, white fir, and Douglas-fir. Minor modifications to the Danzco would improve performance in juniper (e.g. longer knives and more weight) (W. McGee personal communication).

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Results - Post-Harvest Site Impact Evaluation

Post-Harvest Stand Summary - Out of the total site project area of 14.7 acres, approximately 13.9 acres were thinned. No juniper was removed from about 0.8 acres of scabrock in the northeast portion of the unit. A total of 398 trees were removed, which represents roughly two-thirds of the total standing before harvest (average 82 trees/acre pre-harvest and 27 trees/acre post-harvest). An overall average canopy cover of about 30-35% remained after harvest. Diameter at breast height and height averages remained virtually the same as before harvest (see Table 4, Lost River Ranch Stand Data Summary - Pre- and Post-Harvest in Appendix C of the hard copy of this report).

Bulk Densities - There was very little difference in bulk densities before and after harvest operations, even though post-harvest sampling was biased towards high impact areas, such as landings and skid trails. Surface organic matter actually increased due to needle cast from whole tree skidding and redistribution of mechanically-delimbed slash from a central landing.

Slash Distribution - Slash was better distributed in the area that was delimbed with chainsaws (average cover 65%) than those areas where trees were whole-tree skidded to a central landing, mechanically-delimbed, and slash redistributed out into the unit (average cover less than 15%) (see Table 2, Post-Harvest Slash and Woody Debris Cover).

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Summary and Interpretation

The purpose of this project was to identify and assess harvest systems which have been tried in western juniper woodlands, what might work which has not been tried, and conduct harvest trials with the best available systems identified. Harvest trial results were evaluated in terms of direct site impacts, production, and production costs. Loggers and landowners with juniper harvest experience were consulted, as well as a harvest systems researcher.

Table 2: Post Harvest Slash & Woody Debris Cover
Plot # Percent Slash/ Woody Debris Cover
Low Density Stand
1
2

5-10%
5-10%
Medium Density Stand
3
4
5

5-10%
60% (manual delimbing area)
70% (manual delimbing area)
High Density Stand
6
7
8
9

5-10%
35-40%
15-20%
10-15%




This project marked a number of "firsts":

- Summary of Potentially Utilizable Volume and Acreage Inventory Data - Published and unpublished data about potentially utilizable juniper volume and acre estimates from Oregon, California, and Idaho were summarized in one table (see Table 1, Western Juniper Acreage and Volume).

- Soil Investigations - Bulk density was evaluated before and after commercial harvest operations in western juniper woodlands.

- Conventional Harvest System Baseline Data - Baseline data was gathered about average production of a conventional harvest system in western juniper.

- Slash Disposal - The effectiveness of a grapple-equipped skidder was evaluated in terms of its ability to redistribute juniper slash from a central landing where juniper was mechanically delimbed.

- Pull-Through Delimber - Two shovel pull-through delimbers and a skidder pull-through delimber were used in a western juniper woodland harvest operation, and data recorded for baseline time/economics calculations.

- Harvest Systems Comparisons Table - A table was prepared showing cost and production estimates for various combinations of conventional harvest system operational phases in western juniper woodlands. Also included are cost and production estimates for mechanical delimbers and a forwarder.

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Juniper Harvest Systems Background Research

At least seven individuals who have harvested juniper commercially were interviewed to assess what has been tried, what has worked and not worked, and what has not yet been tried that appears to have potential (Gumpert 1995; Larson 1995; Winnop 1996; Medlock 1996; Peterson 1996; H. McGee 1996; W. McGee 1996). A harvest systems researcher was also consulted (McNeel 1996). The primary issue for everyone was: "How to economically delimb juniper?"

No "magic bullets" were identified in the sense of equipment or methods, for any of the operational phases involved with harvesting juniper. For the most part, small improvements or modifications of conventional systems using chainsaws and rubber-tired skidders were suggested, such as the "pre-felling" phase previously discussed. The two items which appeared most promising for holding costs down were pull-through delimbers and forwarders. Three pull-through delimbers were able to be tested with juniper during field trials. A forwarder could not be tested due to the size of the harvest trial site and equipment availability.

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Harvest Systems Field Trials

Based on input from industry and a harvest systems researcher, it was decided to gather baseline data about a conventional juniper harvest system (chainsaws and rubber-tired skidder), and conduct production comparisons between conventional and mechanical delimbing systems (pull-through delimber). Results did not indicate significant production and cost differences between a conventional system which used chainsaws to delimb juniper and one which used a pull-through delimber: Both averaged about 1.7 tons per hour and cost an estimated $27-$29 per ton.

According to the logging contractor however, there are important differences between the two systems: 1) Mechanical delimbing production is expected to increase 10-20% as the shovel operator becomes more familiar with the machinery; 2) Juniper is safer to mechanically delimb than to manually delimb with chainsaws; and 3) Mechanical delimbing reduces the need for an extra person at the landing to clean-up logs which are not adequately delimbed. The logging contractor emphasized that fatigue is a real concern for chainsaw operators due to the numerous and large limbs which must be cut. These limbs also elevate fallen trees, which creates a "roll-over" hazard as the tree is delimbed, and the fallen tree is too unstable for someone to walk on top and delimb three sides at one time (W. McGee personal communication).

Three pull-through delimbers were tried out with juniper during the field trials. Of the three, a CTR pedestal-mount delimber head worked best. In fact, the logging contractor bought the machine after trials were completed because it worked better with juniper than anything else he had tried previously. In addition, a pull-through delimber and shovel combination requires less capital to finance than the stroke delimber tried out a few years previous (cost for a used shovel plus delimber is about $76,000 - cost of a used stroke delimber big enough to handle juniper is about twice as much).

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Post-Harvest Site Impact Evaluation

Bulk Density - Bulk density samples were gathered before and after harvest operations. There was little difference in bulk densities before and after harvest operations, even though post-harvest sampling was biased towards high impact areas, such as landings and skid trails. Surface organic matter actually increased due to needle cast from whole tree skidding and redistribution of mechanically-delimbed slash from a central landing.

The reasons there was little change in bulk density before and after harvest is probably due to site specific phenomena and timing. Harvest operations were conducted and monitored in early fall when soil moisture is historically at a minimum. Little effect on dry clay loam and clay soils with a past history of heavy grazing practices was to be expected. Conversely, sites where the soil has a siltier texture, more moisture, or less historical grazing would have to be monitored closely for compaction and organic horizon disruptions.

One interesting observation was made during soil sampling field work: Normally, tree volume is expected to be greatest in the deepest soils, and decrease with decreasing soil depth and increasing clay. However, the converse was true in this case: Juniper stand volume and density were highest in the shallowest soil with the most clay. One explanation proposed is that the loamy-textured soil has greater macropore space and consequently decreased potential for long-term water storage in arid lands (Hopkins personal communication).

Slash Distribution and Coverage - Slash was better distributed in the area that was delimbed with chainsaws (average cover 65%) than those areas where trees were whole-tree skidded to a central landing, mechanically-delimbed, and slash redistributed out into the unit (average cover less than 15%). This was true even in the high-density stand, where more slash was expected because more material was removed.

Several methods were tried to improve juniper slash dispersion, none of which worked well. Because juniper limbs are long and flexible, they tend to clump and interweave as they are mechanically manipulated. Pushing slash with a skidder blade gave the worst results. A second method tried was to gradually release the grapple and back over bundles. This gave slightly better results, but still was not considered effective because the slash matted and little sunlight would be able to penetrate to assist with seed germination and growth.

The last option tried was hand scattering. As long as the bundles dropped off by the skidder had not been pushed around, limbs were relatively easy to extract. One person could distribute slash from one bundle in 10-20 minutes and cover close to a tenth acre.

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Production and Production Costs

An attempt was made to quantify the production and production costs of five different systems used or considered for this project (see Table 3, Cost and Production Estimates). Efforts were also made to factor in real-time production experience and issues, such as down-time for repairs, rest breaks, move-in/set-up time, and weather. Extensive footnotes are included to explain assumptions used to derive the data. Loan costs and depreciation schedules are roughly estimated.

The results of the paper exercise shown in Table 3, combined with the data obtained from the juniper harvest system trials, indicate that various modifications of a conventional system using chainsaws versus one using a pull-through delimber are remarkably similar. Production and production costs varied less than 10%.

What is noteworthy is that a forwarder operation may be able to drastically cut production costs on a per unit basis. It does this by increasing the length of the harvest season and increasing daily production. Drawbacks to a forwarder system include: 1) More capital to finance ($120-150,000 for used equipment); 2) Requires a larger crew; and 3) Requires at least 1,500-2,000 acres of medium- to high-density woodlands per year (50-150 trees per acre; average 12-14 inches diameter at breast height).

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Implications

Inventory - Research conducted for this project highlighted the sparse and often times incompatible nature of juniper inventory data (see Table 1, Western Juniper Acreage and Volume). It will be difficult to convince companies to invest significant amounts of capital without good inventory data. However, little funding and attention can be obtained for juniper inventory by State and Federal land managing agencies because it is not considered a commercial species. Key inventory questions for commercial interests include: 1) How much is there?; 2) What is the quality?; 3) Where is it?; and 4) How accessible is it (considering physical, geographic, legal, and social constraints)?

Existing Juniper Harvest Systems - Western juniper harvest is expensive (averaging $25-$30 per green ton). No one piece of equipment was identified which will solve all or most of the cost and production issues in western juniper. It appears that incremental production increases and cost reductions may be possible through use of different arrangements of conventional systems, but significant increases in production will require more capital investment.

For example, the only significant decrease in harvest costs was projected with use of a forwarder. Actual field trials were not conducted with one due to the volume and acreage required. It is estimated a harvest operation using a forwarder would require at least 1,500-2,000 acres per year of medium- to high-density juniper woodlands (50-150 trees per acre, averaging 12-14 inches diameter at breast height).

Slash Dispersal - The ability to evenly disperse juniper slash is critical to meet the goal of improving rangeland habitat through commercial harvest. This is difficult to effectively and economically accomplish using a harvest system which relies on a rubber-tired skidder and grapple. Several methods were tried to improve slash dispersion, none of which worked well. Options to improve slash dispersal were discussed with various government personnel and private industry. Results shown in Table 3 for the options labeled Conventional #1 and Mechanically Delimb #2, suggest that more limbs can be left on-site without major modification of systems already in use (see especially Footnote 7). Costs and production are comparable.

Mechanical Harvest Impacts on Juniper Woodlands Soils - Some concern has been expressed about the impacts of mechanical harvest on soil types found in western juniper woodlands. Based on the results of this project, minimal impacts are expected on dry clay loam and clay soils. These soil conditions are encountered most frequently in the late summer and early fall, when soil moisture is historically at a minimum.

Harvest Equipment Designed for Juniper - Several loggers with extensive commercial juniper harvest experience believe what is needed is a piece of harvest equipment which will delimb juniper "on the stump" and cut it. The advantages of such a system are that labor costs will be reduced, personal safety improved, and slash dispersal improved. Costs would be comparable to a shovel/pull-through delimber combination (between $75-80,000, assuming used equipment). There is no way to estimate production because there is no equipment like this on the market.

Table 3: Western Juniper Harvest System Comparison Trials: Cost and Production Estimates for 6-Hour Production Day
Limb Prior to Falling Limb Prior to Falling Professional Faller Professional Faller Rubber-Tired Skidder/ Grapple or Harvester Rubber-Tired Skidder/ Grapple or Harvester Landing Laborer Loader (+Mechanical Delimber) Loader (+Mechanical Delimber) Total
Harvest System Cost Trees Limbed Cost Trees Fallen and/or Limbed Cost Trees to Landing Cost Cost Trees Loaded (& Delimbed) Cost Trees (Tons) Cost/ Tree (Cost/ Ton)
Conventional #1 (Fall/ Delimb On Site/ Skid) ----- ----- 360a 110-130 $270b 150-200 $150 $270c ----- $1,050 110 (38.5d) $9.55 ($27.27)
Conventional #2 (Limb/ Fall/ Delimb On Site/ Skid) $150e 70-120 $180 100-120 $270 150-200 $150 $270 ----- $1,020 100 (35.0) $10.20 ($29.14)
Mechanically Delimb #1 (Limb/ Fall/ Mechanically Delimb at Landing) $300 140-240 $180 120-180 $270 100-140 (whole tree skid) ----- $370 f 90-120 $1,220 120 (42.0) $10.17 ($29.05)
Mechanically Delimb #2 (Limb/ Fall & Partially Delimb on Site/ Mech. Delimb at Landing) $150 70-120 $180 100-120 g $270 100-140 (whole tree skid) ----- $370 90-120 $970 100 (35.0) $9.70 ($27.71)
Forwarder (15 ton/ 10 ton) Fall/ Delimb on Site/ Forwarder $400/ $300h 320/ 240 $540/ $360 300/ 200 $570/ $434i 320/ 200 ----- $270 ----- $1780/ $1364 320/ 200 (112/ 70) $5.56/ $6.82 ($15.89/ $19.49)

a Professional fallers (2) @ $30 each * 6 hours = $360; Production each = 55-65 trees/ 6 hours Return to Table

b Skidder and Operator @ $45/hr. Return to Table

c Log loader or Knuckleboom loader (aka "shovel" or "heelboom loader") and Operator @ $45/ hr. Return to Table

d Assuming average tree = 700 lbs. Return to Table

e One laborer = $150/ day Return to Table

f Loader @ $270/ day + CTR Pedestal Mount Delimber Head @ $100/ day. CTR Delimber Assumptions: $36,000 new, 11% loan, 6 yr. loan depreciation, & 5 month operating season; Alternatives are 4-month operating season @ $125/ day or 6-month operating season @ $80/ day. Return to Table

g Faller is expected to fall and partially delimb, concentrating on large branches which slow mechanical delimbing. Objectives are to increase amount of slash scattered on site, and increase mechanical delimbing production and quality. Return to Table

h Lower cost labor @ $100/ person/ day. Return to Table

i Forwarder assumptions: 15 Ton capacity, Used (= Timberjack 1210) $200,000; 10 Ton capacity, Used (= Timberjack 910) $120,000; 5 yr. loan depreciation; 12% loan; 8 month operating season; Production rate @ 8 loads/ day. Return to Table

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References

Bedell, T.E., L.E. Eddleman, T. Deboodt, and C. Jacks 1993. Western juniper - Its impact and management in Oregon rangelands

Birch, Thomas 1995. Personal communication (regarding unpublished results of National Forested Lands Survey conducted by U.S. Forest Service, Research Branch). Northeast Forest Research and Experiment Station.

Bolsinger, Charles L. 1989. California's western juniper and pinyon-juniper woodlands: Area, stand characteristics, wood volumes, and fence posts. Resource Bulletin PNW-RB-166. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR.

Borman, Mike 1996. Personal communication and letter (Oregon State University Rangeland Resources Extension Agent).

Chittester, Judith M. and C.D. MacLean 1984. Cubic-foot tree volume equations and tables for western juniper. Research Note PNW-420. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. Portland, Oregon.

Chojnacky, David C. 1991. Southern Idaho's forest land outside national forests. Resource Bulletin INT-RB-82. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT.

Eddleman, Lee. 1996 and 1997. Personal communication. Oregon State University, Department of Range Sciences.

Eddleman, L.E., R.F. Miller, P.M. Miller, and P.L. Dysart 1995. Western juniper woodlands of the Pacific Northwest: Scientific assessment. Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Assessment Project. Report on file USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Regional Headquarters, Portland, OR.

Gedney, Donald R. 1996. Personal Communication (unpublished western juniper inventory data). USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR.

Gumpert, Gary 1995. Personal communication. Prineville, OR.

Haugen, Jerry 1993. Proceedings: Western juniper forum. Unpublished manuscript for Western Juniper Forum, Bend, OR. (September 1, 1993). On file USDA Forest Service, Winema National Forest, Klamath Falls, OR.

Hopkins, William 1996. Personal communication and short report. U.S. Forest Service, Zone Ecologist. Klamath Falls, OR.

Larson, Roger 1995. Personal communication. Pacific Pine Products, Lakeview, OR.

Loveness, Ron 1995. Personal communication. Modoc Lumber, Klamath Falls, OR.

McGee, Howard 1995, 1996, 1997. Personal communication. High Desert Wood Products, Dairy, OR.

McGee, Walt 1995, 1996, 1997. Personal communication. High Desert Wood Products, Dairy, OR.

McNeel, J. F. and L. Swan 1996. Harvesting western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) in Eastern Oregon - a case study. Unpublished technical report. On file Oregon Economic Development Department, Salem (also Winema National Forest and Oregon State University Extension, Klamath Falls).

Medlock, Milo 1996. Personal communication. Anchor M Lumber, Spray, OR.

Mikkleson, Gary 1997. Personal communication. Pacific North Equipment, Eugene, OR.

Miller, Richard 1996. Personal communication. Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, Burns, OR.

Miller, R.F., T. Svejcar, M. Willis, and L. Eddleman 1995. History, ecology, and management of western juniper woodlands and associated shrub lands - An annual report of preliminary results and progress for 1995. Unpublished report. On file Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, Burns, OR.

Nicita, Eric 1996. Pre- and post-harvest soil investigations - western juniper harvest systems comparisons project. Unpublished report. On file Oregon Economic Development Department, Salem (also Winema National Forest and Oregon State University Extension, Klamath Falls).

Okholm, Deborah 1995. Personal communication (results of telephone poll of Natural Resource Conservation Services offices in Eastern Oregon regarding juniper clearing). U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Regional Headquarters, Portland, OR.

Otley, Fred 1996. Personal communication (former President of Oregon Cattleman's Association). Diamond, OR.

Peterson, Roy 1996. Personal communication. Monument, OR.

Reynolds, Mike 1995. Personal communication. Minimum Impact Logging, Klamath Falls, OR.

Sauerwein, William J. 1982. Western juniper site index curves. Technical Notes: Woodland No. 14. USDA Soil Conservation Service, West Technical Service Center. Portland, Oregon.

Swan, Larry 1993. Interim report: Western juniper utilization and marketing project. Unpublished report. On file USDA Forest Service, Winema National Forest, and Oregon State University Extension, Klamath Falls, OR.

Vanderpol, Bill 1995. Personal communication (retired log buyer for former Weyerhaeuser Hardboard Plant). Klamath Falls, OR.

Ward, Barney 1994. Personal communication. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Alturas, CA.

Washington, Joseph 1996. Revegetating western juniper-medusa head rangeland. Masters thesis. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Winnop, Carl 1996. Personal communication. Warner Mountain Resources, Alturas, CA.

Woudenberg, Sharon 1997. Personal communication. U.S. Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT.

1. Assuming 10,000 ac./yr. at an average of 225 cu. ft./ac = 2.25 million cubic ft.

2. Key assumption is that ranchers who intend to thin their woodlands over the next 10 years will treat 25% of the average 350 woodland acres/landowner, at a minimum cost of $50 per acre.

3. It is estimated only 10-20% of the total standing trees are what could be considered "saw log" quality. The remainder are too asymmetrical, twisted, or limby to be economically sawn with known and available technology and markets.

4. Time estimate based on at least 8,000 observations during the last 2-3 years (H. McGee personal communication; M. Reynolds personal communication).

5. Special Note: Sauerwein's index is valid only for "well-stocked" stands, which in this case are the medium- and high-density areas (more than 50 trees per acre).

6. Dryland Pasture Blend consisted of Paiute Orchardgrass (29%), Manchar Bromegrass (29%), Oahe Intermediate Wheatgrass (28%), Ladak Alfalfa (10%), with the remaining 4% inert. Seed came from Union Seed Co., Nampa, ID.