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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


The Feller-Buncher: A Clear-Cutting Machine

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: logging, forests, timber, clear-cutting, British Columbia, Vancouver Review, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Feller-buncher at work

The steep rise of clear-cut logging in British Columbia and beyond can be traced to a single mechanical innovation, reports Chris Nikkel in Vancouver Review: The feller-buncher.

Nikkel ventures to a B.C. clear-cut site to profile logger Jamie Wiens and see the forest-munching machine, which can both saw down and gather several large trees in one fell swoop:

The introduction of the feller-buncher in the 1970s was so game-changing, writes Nikkel, that “forest-industry eras in the [B.C.] Interior can easily be divided into two categories: before the feller-buncher and after it. After its introduction, clearcuts rose to prominence as the most efficient way of cutting down a forest and turning a profit. By the 1980s, 90 percent of logging was done in the form of clearcuts, and B.C. led the way—not just in Canada, but around the world.”

Wiens tells Nikkel that forestry shows often feature virtual-training video simulations in which people can test their feller-buncher chops.

At this rate, I presume it won’t be long before an iPad user can log the entire Amazon on a feller-buncher app.

Source: Vancouver Review (article not available online) 

Image by Peter Blanchard, licensed under Creative Commons.