Sustainable Farm Forest Management Using Small-Scale Logging Methods

2002 Annual Report for ENE02-068

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2002: $98,744.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $46,410.00
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Andrew Egan
University of Maine

Sustainable Farm Forest Management Using Small-Scale Logging Methods

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. Compare (a) production/efficiencies and costs/benefits, and (b) the effects of small-scale logging on farm forest sustainability. Results of this applied research will help to develop baseline information where little or none currently exists. This information will be used to inform farmers about the costs and benefits associated with farm forest management and small-scale logging practices. It will also provide a framework for project demonstrations, workshops, and a videotape. Results of the economic analysis will aid the farming community, as well as other NIPF owners, by providing useful information on alternatives to conventional woodlot harvesting systems that may have implications for improving the sustainability of farm woodlot and NIPF resources.

2. Conduct a survey of a sample of farmers in the region who own forestland. The survey will provide information on the role of farm forests in whole-farm management and farm and forest sustainability. It will also provide information on current levels and philosophies of forest farm management in the region, as well as the current role of small-scale harvesting in whole-farm management and farm woodlot sustainability. Importantly, survey respondents will be asked if the PI may visit their farm woodlot to discuss forest management and harvesting strategies with the farmer-respondents and to collect video footage of the work performed on some of the respondents' woodlots. This footage will be edited and used in the production of the videotape. The goal will be to obtain permission from and subsequently visit 30 farms in the three-state region, and to collect video footage on five of these farms.

3. Develop a demonstration area and conduct workshops. A permanent small-scale logging demonstration area – including active demonstrations of small-scale logging – will serve as a focal point for small-scale logging workshops directed at farmers as well as NIPF owners, loggers, foresters, and the general public. A self-tour brochure will be available at the site for visitors. This objective will provide a significant educational opportunity to farmers and others who may provide or have interest in small-scale logging methods and the opportunities for woodlot management in whole farm systems. The demonstration area will be located at the University of Maine's University Forest, near UMaine's Witter Research and Demonstration Farm, and will be available during Witter Farm Open Houses and other Witter Farm functions.

4. Produce and distribute a videotape. The videotape will offer a vehicle for reaching a broad audience of farmers and other NIPF owners. The tape will discuss the role of farm forest management and sustainability, as well as address small-scale harvesting system costs and benefits, advantages and disadvantages, place in overall farm woodlot and NIPF sustainability, management, economics, and safety. It will contain footage of the applied research trials described in this proposal, footage of other small-scale logging sites across the northern New England region, interviews with farmers who manage their forestland and use small-scale logging methods, and insights and testimonials from farmers, consulting foresters, and NIPF owners. Pertinent information derived from the mail survey of farmers who own forestland in the region, as well as farm visits, will be included in the videotape. This will be complemented by the inclusion of information from studies and published works related to small-scale and low impact logging (e.g., Egan 2001), the economics of logging with farm tractors (e.g, Huyler and LeDoux 1989), the advantages and disadvantages of horse logging (e.g., Egan 2000), the safe use of farm tractors in logging (e.g., Lowrey et al. 1998), and related topics and sources.

Performance targets:

1. From field and survey research, develop baseline information on farm forest management and small-scale timber harvesting efficiencies, costs, benefits, and sustainability that will be useful to farmers who own and manage farm woodlots. Results of this research will be widely disseminated in agricultural and forestry publications (e.g., Farming, Northern Logger, and extension publications in each state), as well as during workshops and other outreach efforts. This information will reach 1,000 farmers in the region, and influence the forest management behaviors of 100 farmers.

2. Conduct outreach to farmers in northern New England who have an interest in and potential for farm forest management that includes small-scale logging with the information developed through field and survey research. "Train-the trainer" workshops will attract 30 agriculture and forestry professionals in each of the three states. Trainers will be identified through state extension, Farm Bureau, and forestry offices. Of these, 10 trainers in each state will actively disseminate the information/videotapes developed by the field and survey research to a total of 50 farmer-constituents per state. Approximately 25 of these farmers per state (total = 75) will implement one or more aspects of the outreach efforts in the ensuing two years. The demonstration site in Orono, ME, will attract 100 visitors per year, 50 of which will visit during the University of Maine Witter Farm Open House, and will influence the farm forest management behavior of 5 farmers per year.

The success of this project will be gauged by several measures: Numbers of individuals visiting the demonstration site and feedback as indicated on survey cards attached to the brochure available at a kiosk at the demonstration site; workshop evaluations solicited from participants at the workshops in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont; number of requests for the videotape, as well as feedback from those receiving and viewing the tape via an accompanying brochure/survey card soliciting reactions to the tape, as well as intention and/or implementation to engage in small-scale harvesting methods; and a follow-up survey of registered workshop participants for the workshops held in each state.


1. Experimental replicates for the logging treatment trials on the University
Forest, University of Maine have been installed.

2. A mail survey was developed, and the survey was mailed on January 3, 2003, to 3,000 farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. To date, we have over 700 responses. The mail survey will conclude in approximately one month. A test survey mailed to 100 farmers in the region during the fall of 2002, resulted in a 34 percent response rate.

3. A small-scale logging demonstration site is being developed at the University Forest, University of Maine.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

It is too early to assess the impacts and contributions of this project.