This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

GPS and GIS Application and Analysis of Timber Harvesting Operations on Steep Terrain


This study examined the productivity and site disturbance of a tree length harvesting system in the steep slope conditions of the Appalachian Highlands. Timber harvesting is a major industry in this area but has the potential to severely affect water quality and is expensive compared to harvesting in areas with less severe slope. Water quality problems are caused by increased erosion from steep slopes. Harvest costs are increased due to decreased harvesting efficiency because of the terrain. We used electronic monitors and global positioning systems (GPS) to track harvesting efficiency and trafficking on a typical steep terrain harvest. In general utilization of in-woods operations were low due to limited truck capacity or markets. The GPS information from the skidder provided information that could predict hourly skidder productivity. Traffic mapping with positional data was able to identify high traffic areas but had limited utility in identifying areas with single or a few passes. The limits may have been related to position accuracy, position data collection frequency, or traffic data collection bias.