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    In the central Appalachian region, hardwoods traditionally have been harvested by chainsaw felling with trees and logs extracted from the forest to landings by rubber-tired skidders, bulldozers, and crawler tractors. In recent years, mechanized systems that include feller bunchers and cut-to-length (CTL) processors coupled with forwarders and clambunk and grapple skidders have been used increasingly to harvest Eastern hardwoods. Feller bunchers fell trees and pile stems or logs in bunches. CTL processors fell trees and delimb them, buck the stems into logs, and pile them in presorted bunches. Wood piles and bunches are transported to landings by a clambunk or grapple skidder or a forwarder. These system combinations for processing and transporting essentially eliminate the need for woods workers on the ground, a major advantage from a production and safety standpoint, and greatly reduce adverse effects on the site compared to chainsaw felling and conventional skidding. Feller buncher and CTL systems are reviewed, results of environmental impact studies are presented, and cost equations for a range of operating conditions in Eastern hardwoods are provided.

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    LeDoux, Chris B. 2010. Mechanized systems for harvesting eastern hardwoods. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-69. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 13 p.


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    feller buncher, cut-to-length processor, forwarder, production cost, safety, site impact

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