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Unlike the environmentally sound forest harvesting system treated in chapter 3, the traditional logging system as generally used in the Amazon-region in Brazil can be described as insufficiently planned, haphazard timber harvesting without any considerations concerning future crop and forest sustainability. Improper felling techniques, which cause safety problems, timber loss as well as poor postharvest condition of the forest, and inefficient extraction due to a lack of information about terrain conditions, tree location and planned skid trail alignment are further characteristics of the traditional logging system.

The traditional logging system as generally used in the Amazon region in Brazil can be described as follows:


· a timber company looks for forest areas to buy from settlers or farmers;


· the company hires someone to evaluate the stands in the area of interest;


· the company usually purchases the forest areas at a very low price after stand evaluations;


· felling operations are often performed by poorly equipped and unskilled workers, frequently hired by the company only for the single job; a felling crew usually consists of 1 chainsaw operator and 1 assistant;


· workers are usually paid according to the volume of timber felled per day, therefore rapid felling is better rewarded than careful felling;


· entering the operating area with a D6 crawler tractor (bulldozer) a road of 8 m width is opened in the middle of the area as well as landings established several days after felling operations have been completed;


· logging operations are usually carried out in a chaotic way, the operator of the D6 crawler tractor or skidder, which is sometimes used, drives the tractor into the stand towards canopy openings searching for logs;


· the skidder operator drives to each log due to the lack of designated skid trails, the winch line is often wrapped directly around the log to be skidded, rather than using a separate choker cable or chain;


· skidding the log to the landing is not necessarily carried out by retracing the path used to arrive at the log;


· unplanned searching and skidding results in a dense criss-crossing network of skid trails, some of which lead to natural canopy gaps in which no tree was felled;


· remarkable losses of utilisable volume caused by forgotten, not extracted felled trees.


Photo 15. Short-term changes in stand structure caused by driving the skidding machines into the stand - the lack of underbrush, palms and regeneration is obvious, and other effects such as soil disturbance and soil compaction provide food for thought

Photo 16. Inappropriate stream crossing

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