Timber Industry Consolidation and the Need for Scale Appropriate Harvesting Mechanisms in Alabama's Black Belt
Type of DegreeThesis
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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The consolidation and technological development of the forest industry in west Alabama’s Black Belt has lead to a growing disjunction between the needs of small forestland owners and the capabilities of logging operations harvesting timber. Small timberland owners with limited timber volume are increasingly finding management and economic returns difficult as high production logging operations, geared towards larger timberland owners, are unable to harvest on their land. This thesis begins by characterizing the current logging systems operating in a four county research region of Alabama’s Black Belt. The thesis then identifies the challenges that are faced by small-scale loggers that have limited their ability to operate in west Alabama. The thesis then identifies the specific logging equipment and operations that are available and adaptable to the needs of small timberland owners in Alabama’s Black Belt.