Professional loggers don’t just cut trees, they are stewards of the forest. It’s very rare to meet a logger who doesn’t love the woods, love working in the woods and takes sustainable forest management seriously. Sustainability is the key that keeps our forests working, which incidently is what keeps them as “forests”. Sustainability is job security for loggers for when forests stop working, so do professional loggers. If loggers stop working, consumers can say goodbye to every type of forest product in their homes and workplaces that they use every single day.
Right now, at a time where personal protective equipment born from our forests is needed to save lives, there needs to be an appreciation more than ever for our professional loggers, what they do and how they do it. The public needs to understand that we cannot live without loggers. These men and women put their lives on the line under the most stressful and dangerous conditions to get the products to market that the consumer CANNOT live without.
Environmentally friendly logging equipment has a price tag that would blow the socks off the average person. Would you ever think of starting a business where the initial investment to create a harvest system was in the millions? If the average logging contractor were to go out to purchase every new environmentally sensitive piece of equipment to create a harvest system, it would be in the millions. That’s just to obtain the equipment to get started, that doesn’t include the other start up costs that a regular business must invest.The price of a brand new skidder (equipment that pulls trees out of the woods) runs anywhere from a half a million to a million, depending on model and extras like Eco Tracks. Going into the logging business usually doesn’t happen on a whim, and there certainly isn’t the average entrepreneur waking up one day saying, “Gee, I want to start a logging company.” We need our loggers to keep our forests working to clean the air we breathe, mitigate climate change, as well as forest fires and bring us the valuable forest products we cannot live without.
Logging contractors generally are either born into a logging family, or have worked years for a contractor to gain the knowledge to venture out on their own. Usually, the cautious ones start with a chain saw and a skidder and build from there. It is a very taxing, stressful profession and when a piece of equipment breaks down, everything stops….when the flow of wood stops, the flow of money stops. With very thin profit margins a breakdown adds additional stress to an already stressful profession. The cost of parts for repair are in the thousands and downtime sucks dollars from the bottom line.
In this day and age, here in the United States, logging professionals usually have a form of certification which by the way is not required, but most do. This adds another layer of complexity to working in the woods. Standards that are designed to protect the environment, the reputation of logging and indigenous people requires that more money be spent. The dollars that are spent by the logging professional in order to rise to the level these standards require can be major, but much needed in a day and age where all types businesses are minding their environmental “P’s” and “Q’s”. Yet professional loggers, who have spent the money to buy specialized equipment to meet these high environmental standards, can still find themselves shut down by protesting environmentalists. These protesters seem to be lost when it comes to understanding that as long as we use forest products, we will need loggers. If protesters can get away with protesting the best of the best, what does the future hold for our forests and our professional loggers?
Take time to learn that logging is more than cutting trees. It is a way of life for people who love the forests and want to keep them working for generations to come. Loggers follow prescriptions based on science fostering sustainability. They deserve respect.
During this pandemic we are recognizing more than ever how much we need the products that loggers put their lives on the line every day to bring to market. Throughout your day, as you use these forest products, think of the logging professional and know that it isn’t just about cutting trees, it’s about saving lives.