Harvesting Sustainably: Mercer Forestry Services builds preservation into plans

Sustainability is completely integrated into our strategies and behaviors at Mercer Forestry Services when it comes to harvesting timber. It impacts every aspect of our work, including pre-planning, logistics, and post-harvest activities.

The industry works together within an allowable annual cut to ensure timber is harvested on a sustainable basis within forest areas. Harvest plans are carefully compiled by forest professionals to determine special considerations for particular areas. Strategies include leaving certain tree species behind for structural diversity, habitat for wildlife, and coarse woody debris (CWD) recruitment.  Maintaining CWD of all sizes and decay classes aids in forest productivity in terms of soil function, tree growth, and ecosystem productivity in terms of habitat. Plans also include requirements for retaining deciduous trees, small patches of advanced health regeneration, and saplings that exhibit good form and vigor.

The equipment used for harvesting and transporting wood also follows a sustainability plan. Worn-out equipment is routinely replaced or repaired to run with optimum efficiency. Machines use Diesel Exhaust Fluid which is injected into exhaust streams of engines to turn harmful emissions into nitrogen and water.

We work to ensure minimal site disturbance during harvesting. We have multiple layered controls in place for staying out of watershed areas and protecting natural drainage patterns. Throughout the season, we strategically schedule work on drier ground during wetter months and move to higher elevations as the summer heats up. It’s not uncommon to shift plans based on a changing weather forecast. If the risk of ground disturbance is increasing, we re-evaluate our plans. Post-harvesting activities include road rehabilitation, trail deactivation, and grass seeding to encourage vegetation regrowth and wildlife habitat preservation. 

We consider sustainability in every step, giving our forests every opportunity to maintain natural characteristics and regrow timber for future generations to come.