Characteristics of Logging Businesses across Virginia’s Diverse Physiographic Regions
Logging businesses play an important role in implementing forest management plans and delivering the raw material needed by forest products mills. Understanding the characteristics of the logging workforce can help forest managers make better decisions related to harvesting operations. We surveyed logging business owners across Virginia’s three physiographic regions (Mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain). Overall, logging businesses reported an average production rate of 761.37 t/business/week, but this varied substantially by region, with the highest production rates in the Coastal Plain (1403.55 t/business/week), followed by the Piedmont (824.69 t/business/week) and the Mountains (245.42 t/business/week). Many operations in the Mountains rely primarily on manual felling (66.6% of respondents) and these operations often have lower production rates. Across all regions, 81.7% of reported production came from operations that primarily utilized rubber-tired feller-bunchers for felling. Logging businesses were sorted based on reported production capacity and then divided into three groups (high, medium, and low production) based on total reported production. Across all regions, the majority of reported production was produced by the high production logging businesses. This was highest in the Piedmont, where the high production businesses accounted for 74.8% of total reported production.