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“Professional Timber Harvester Program Starts in Macon October 8”
Jefferson City, MO–Today, anyone can buy a chainsaw, walk into the woods, and cut down a tree, but does this make them a logger? Simply cutting down a tree does not make a person a logger, much less a trained logger. Using trained loggers is vital to sustaining Missouri’s forests, both today and tomorrow.
The State of Missouri has determined the importance of trained loggers. Since 2000, the Missouri Conservation Department has required loggers complete the Professional Timber Harvester (PTH) Program, a five day training session sponsored by Missouri Forest Products Association (MFPA), before they harvest timber on state owned land. Many foresters also recommend using trained loggers on private land as well. “It is very important to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to be able to work with loggers that have gone through the PTH Program,” said John Tuttle, Forestry Field Program Supervisor for the Forest Products program at MDC “These individuals have been trained on the importance of good forest management and they become a partner in ensuring sustainability of the forest.”
The PTH Program is designed to educate the logger, skidder operator, forester, forest contractor, and landowner in sustaining forest resources. PTH training includes harvesting timber safely and professionally, while protecting the forest ecology and wildlife.
The PTH Program, offered throughout the year, is broken down into five sessions. The first session, Forest Management, deals with Best Management Practices (BMPs), managing for long term profitability, and forest ecology and wildlife. BMP’s are activities that eliminate or reduce impact on soil erosion and other environmental effects. The Forest Management portion contains information on stream side zones, stream crossing, access roads and their construction, water bar construction, forest health, and reforestation.
The cutting sessions, Levels I through IV, are taught by MFPA’s Logger Trainer, Joe Glenn. Joe has been the association’s instructor for several years and trained under international logging expert, Soren Eriksson, MFPA’s former PTH Trainer and the founder of “The Game of Logging Training”. During the Level I session, Joe gives the loggers an overview on the Game of Logging Training, MFPA, the future of forestry, and safety. The class is then given instruction on proper protective equipment, OSHA requirements, First Aid, and the open face felling method. “Safety is high priority in the PTH Program,” said Joe Glenn. “It goes without saying that safety can not be stressed enough. The PTH training saves lives every day.”
The Level II session goes one step further teaching the use of felling wedges, saw maintenance, filing, rpm settings, directional felling, delimbing, and bucking techniques. “Directional felling of trees protects the standing forest,” said Glenn. “Proper cutting techniques not only help in the cutting process, but also saves the standing timber from damage.”
The Level III class, instruction includes calculation of tree height and lean limits, wedging calculations, delimbing techniques, and precision felling.
The Level IV session discusses different types of logging situations, advanced delimbing and felling techniques, and planning efficient harvest layouts.
When Level IV is completed, the participants are scored and upon passing they are awarded a certificate of completion. In order to maintain their certification, the logger must participate in MFPA’s Continuing Education Program. They must attend two mandatory sessions per year following the year they become certified.
Missouri Forest Products Association’s mission is to encourage the wise use and conservation of our nation’s natural resources and promote the business of all forest-related industries and encourage closer working relationships among forest products firms, forest owners, producers, and harvesters.
“Missouri’s forest products industry adds 4.3 billion dollars annually to the State’s economy. Logging is a profession that is very valuable part of the industry,” said Brian Brookshire, MFPA’s Executive Director. “Professional loggers share the responsibility with landowners and foresters to help ensure Missouri’s renewable forests can be sustained for this century and beyond.”
MFPA produces an automated “Trained Logger Directory” available to the public through their web site. For more information on forest management, the Professional Timber Harvester Program, or to get a printed version of the Trained Logger Directory, visit the MFPA web site at www.moforest.org or call the MFPA office at (573) 634-3252.