Athens, Ga. – Three University of Georgia researchers won a national writing award for their analysis of how the timber harvesting industry in two states changed over the past 25 years.
Dale Greene and Shawn Baker, both in the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, accepted the 2014 National Technical Writing Award from the Forest Resources Association recently. Samantha Marchman, lead author of the paper and a graduate student in Warnell when the research was conducted, is now a resource forester for Plum Creek in Crossett, Arkansas.
The trio conducted their award-winning project during 2012, publishing an analysis of a quarter century of timber harvesting activity in Georgia and more recently in South Carolina.
“It is always a joy to see your students recognized for quality performance,” said Greene, who is a professor of forest operations. “And it is really impressive to now be able to look back 25 years and see how this industry has continued to adapt to remain a world-class, low-cost producer of delivered wood to our mills.”
The research team analyzed harvesting operations and practices, weekly production levels, equipment fleet characteristics and business owner demographics from 1987 to 2012. They found that the timber harvesting industry has undergone dramatic changes in those 25 years, with crew production doubling in that time, worker productivity increasing significantly despite thinning becoming the dominant harvesting method, and harvesting business owners’ ages averaging 10 years older today than in 1987.
They also found that businesses invested in lighter tractor-trailers that allow them to efficiently haul timber and reduce fuel use for every ton delivered.
The technical release, “Southeastern Logging Contractor Survey Results Over 25 Years,” was published by the Forest Resources Association in early 2013.
“The FRA offers a vital source of high-quality information, communicating trends throughout the supply chain network,” Marchman said. “I am thankful for their enthusiastic support of both our research and the forest products industry at large.”
The UGA Center for Forest Business, located in Warnell, has monitored the timber harvesting industry by sending logging businesses in Georgia a survey every five years since 1987. South Carolina was included in the survey for the first time in 2012. This project keeps industry abreast of the adoption of new technologies in the field and helps keep forest operations research at UGA focused on current problems faced by industry.
“We are very fortunate to work with a terrific logging industry in both Georgia and South Carolina,” said Baker, a Warnell research professional. “While it is an honor to be recognized for our research article, I am thrilled that it draws attention to the positive developments the logging industry has achieved.”
Their analysis is available online at http://forestoperationsreview.org/technical-releases/item/354-southeastern-logging-contractor-survey-results-over-25-years.
For more information on the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, see http://www.warnell.uga.edu/.