Costs of Best Management Practices for Loggers on Family Forests in the Northern Forest

Project Title: 

Determining the Implementation Costs of Best Management Practices on Family Forests in the Northern Forest

Award Year: 
SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry

Professional logging businesses are vital to a healthy forest products industry throughout the Northern Forest, particularly for the region’s family forest owners. Family forest owners rely on professional loggers to help realize their ownership objectives. However, a recent decline in the logging industry threatens the survival of logging businesses, with implications for management of family forests. Specifically, many loggers struggle to account for their variable and fixed costs, including the cost of implementing Best Management Practices (BMP) to protect water quality.

A limited amount of research on BMP costs has produced a wide range of cost estimates, calling into question their accuracy. NSRC researchers will examine the costs of implementing BMP on family forests in the Northern Forest. They will work with a group of loggers who will each keep a journal of their daily activities on the job. Researchers will then examine BMP costs from multiple angles, from the per unit cost of a single BMP implementation, such as the installation of a water bar, to the impact that such practices have on harvest productivity.

A thorough understanding of BMP costs will help logging business owners better plan harvest operations to optimize profits while protecting valuable water resources. Accurate BMP cost estimates will allow policy makers and cost-share program managers to better understand the needs and challenges confronting today's independent logging businesses and to develop policies targeted at sustaining the profession of logging.