In the forest world we’re usually thinking 5, 10, 20, 100, or 500 years ahead. We pride ourselves on our ability to visualize a stand into the future.
Well this time of year it’s good to think about 4-6 months ahead. The summer is filling up fast for loggers, log prices are at all time highs, and it will be hard to get much done this summer unless it’s already planned. Log prices appear to be holding steady, with the exception of a dip in the hemlock price, and the real bottleneck in the supply chain appears to be logging capacity, especially for smaller jobs and thinning.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes until capacity fills in. From our travels this year, it’s been amazing to see the depth of cut to length operations (2 machine operations that use a processor to cut, limb and buck, and a forwarder to move the wood). It also has us thinking about why there aren’t more operators running these systems in the NW. They have the advantage of low soil compaction, the ability to work in a range of conditions, and they leave a beautiful residual stand. Something to think about going forward.
The below is a forwarder that we saw on a tour with the Northwest Natural Resources Group board of director.