Are you interested in an outdoor career

improving forest health?

Ecological Logging Training

Northwest Natural Resource Group (NNRG) is introducing a new training program for people interested in becoming loggers with a focus on ecological logging – thinning designed to improve the health of the stand and enhance carbon sequestration, among other ecosystem services.

This training will be open to students from a wide variety of backgrounds, and no prior logging or heavy equipment experience is required, though we do encourage those with some logging or heavy equipment background to apply. Successful graduates will have the opportunity to gain additional experience using NNRG’s harwarder (combination harvester/forwarder). There is no cost for students, and students will be paid a stipend for their time.

NNRG will have use of a simulator so that students can gain some familiarity with equipment operation before getting into the cab of a real machine. Students will get approximately 28 hours of hands-on experience operating a modern cut-to-length harvester and forwarder.

The first training will take place in Spring/Summer 2024, with exact dates to be determined. It will be four weeks long and full-time at ~40 hours/week. The first training site is expected to be in the Hood Canal area, about 1.5 hours northwest of Tacoma, WA. We expect to schedule more trainings in the future in other parts of Western Washington.

What is thinning, and why do you do it?

Many forests in our region are overstocked, and trees are stressed by this excess competition from their neighbors. Thinning “from below” removes the smaller and less healthy trees, in order to give the healthier trees more room to thrive.

It also can be used to enhance species and structural diversity, in order to create more valuable habitat for a wide variety of species, and increase the resilience of the forest ecosystem.

Program outline

Intro to Ecological Forestry

  • Ecological vs. sustainable forestry
  • Forest succession and development
  • Tree and understory plant species ID
  • Tree selection for forest health
  • Ecological logging techniques
  • Climate change impacts on forestry
  • Forest Practices overview

Heavy Equipment Intro

  • Types of logging equipment
  • Mechanized logging procedures
  • Logging safety 
  • Chainsaw felling
  • Simulator harvester/forwarder training
  • Observation of experienced operator

Logging as a Business

  • Historical context and industry trends
  • Starting a business
  • Reducing liability
  • Tracking revenue/expenses
  • Optimizing value/scale
  • Building client relationships

Operating Equipment

  • Forwarder
  • Harvester
  • Basic maintenance

This program is funded through a grant from the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under agreement number NR233A750004G042. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, any reference to specific brands or types of products or services does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for those products or services.

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