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Regardless of the type of logging equipment used in a particular ground-skidding system, the extraction of logs is a difficult, often hazardous operation that can inflict substantial damage on forest ecosystems (Dykstra & Heinrich 1996). The three most common types of damage caused to forest ecosystems during extraction with ground-skidding equipment are:

However, all of the detrimental impacts of timber extraction can be reduced substantially by meaningful, comprehensive planning coupled with an effective system of operational control, to ensure that the plan is followed and adapted as necessary in response to changing conditions (Dykstra & Heinrich 1996).

Generally speaking, the following should be considered to allow extraction operations to be conducted efficiently and safely, as well as in an environmentally sound way:

Whereas the first two points of the above list are widely accepted, the others are still generally neglected. The ground-skidding equipment itemised below are used for log extraction by SBLC and VFP, respectively.

Machine type






Caterpillar 527 tracked skidder

112 kW

17.7 t

2.7 m

skidtrail opening and

skidding of logs


Caterpillar D6D crawler tractor

105 kW

14.3 t

2.4 m

skidtrail opening and

skidding of logs