James Perkins of Perkins Timber Harvesting (the awarded contractor for the Isham timber sale) operates a feller buncher to remove unmarked trees for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS) Kaibab National Forest, Williams Ranger District's Isham Task Order, in Arizona, on December 4, 2018.
A feller buncher can grasp multiple trees and cut mature trees and then stack them for removal. A massive spinning saw blade takes just a couple seconds to cut through a tree trunk.
The 1,273-acre Isham Task Order is part of the broader Four Forest Restoration Initiative, which is intended to treat more than 2.4 million acres of ponderosa pine forest across northern Arizona. The work within the Isham timber sale is just getting started south of Sherwood Forest Estates near Scholz Lake. Current activity includes the use of a feller buncher to cut and then stack trees. A feller buncher then drags the trees to a worksite. There the tree branches are removed in seconds, and the bare tree trunk is cut to the desired length for sale by the contractor to lumber mills. The disposition of treetops and trees too big for the mill remain the contractor's responsibility. The ultimate goal of the timber sale is to improve forest health and reduce the potential for high-intensity wildfires that could threaten lives, property, and natural resources. The Four Forest Restoration Initiative seeks to increase resilience in the fire-adapted ponderosa pine forest by reducing tree stand densities to a more historical level, which eventually reduces the potential for uncharacteristic wildfire. This work also offers greater protection for residents living in and adjacent to the wildland-urban interface, where developments and forested areas merge. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. Original public domain image from Flickr