volume: 44, issue:
Urbanization, shrinking markets, and reduced forestry investment may affect harvesting efficiency in regions of the US South. To monitor these conditions, logging businesses have been tracked by surveys conducted by universities and trade associations. This project used a sampling approach coordinated with FIA utilization studies to sample logging crews based on a harvesting location. The approach was used to develop relationships among firm attributes and site attributes in six southeastern states (AL, GA, FL, NC, SC, and VA) from 2011 to 2018. The data included harvest attributes (location, harvest size and stand type) and logging firm attributes (production, crew labor, crew number, the number of machines by type, and machine age). For crew capital value, an equation was developed for this study using machine number and average machine age. The data from logging crews on 419 harvests were analyzed by region, harvest size, and stand type. Mean values for crew labor ranged from 3.1 to 7.1 workers. The average capital value per crew ranged from $220,000 to $524,000 per crew in the Coastal Plain with a narrower range in the Piedmont. In the Coastal Plain, higher productivity was detected for larger harvests and pine versus hardwood and mixed stands; however, in the Piedmont those trends were less obvious. Ratio of feller-bunchers, skidders and loaders were mostly 1:1:1 or 1:2:1 with 41% and 24% of samples, respectively. There were notable trends among Coastal Plain loggers regarding capital value and productivity with evidence supported by a production function. The differences in Piedmont (e.g., ownership size, market access, terrain, population density, etc.) may combine to limit daily production and labor productivity.