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    A complete system simulation model is used to integrate alternative logging technologies, stand data, market prices, transportation costs, and economic concerns in a longterm continuous manner to evaluate thinning entry timing and optimal rotation age. Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) stand data for the oak/hickory forest type and time and motion study data for 70, 90, and 120 horsepower skidders, a cut-to-length/forwarding system, and a feller buncher/forwarding system were used in this research. Smaller, less expensive skidders allowed commercial thinnings to be scheduled 15-30 years earlier in the life of the stand and resulted in larger cumulative monetary returns to the landowner. Larger, more expensive skidders and expensive mechanized systems such as cut-to-length resulted in delaying thinning entries by as many as 30 years and in less cumulative monetary returns to the landowner. The results should be valuable to landowners, loggers, managers, and decision-makers.

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    LeDoux, Chris B. 2007. Impact of alternative harvesting technologies on thinning entry and optimal rotation age for eastern hardwoods. e-Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–101. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 122-128 [CD-ROM].

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