Another week of summer has passed by and once again the Starker Intern Crew was off to learning new things. This last week has focused on learning about inventory and how to cruise timber. Starker’s inventory forester, Lys, as well as Fred who has worked inventory for many years, teamed up to teach the whole crew the process.
As for a basic rundown of what timber cruising is, it is a process of taking inventory on stands of trees ranging anywhere from 10 years old all the way to harvest to gain information on how the trees are growing and the volume of lumber that is in the stands. As interns, we are tasked with taking plots throughout each stand and collecting the species, diameter at 4.5 feet, height, percentage of live crown, and percent of defect of each tree in our plots.
After this data is collected, Lys can use it in a number of different ways. If the trees are about to be harvested or thinned, the cruising data can be used to determine a volume estimate of lumber within the stand, which is directly used when contracting and finding log buyers. For younger stands, Lys is able to use a computer program and the data we collect in order to run the stand data forward into the future. By doing so, models can be used to predict the future volumes of a stand and also see what possible silvicultural treatments could do to these volume estimates.
So far as a crew, we have gotten to learn how to cruise timber at ages like 35, 20, and older stands closer to 70 or 80 years old. The fun part about timber cruising is that every stand is different and comes with its own set of unique challenges.
Stay tuned next week to hear about an exciting new project the other interns and I get to work on for Starker Forests!
- – Andrew Prom