Photo / Tim Greenway
Tom Cushman, owner of Maine Custom Woodlands, on a feller buncher in the woods in Gray.
Tom Cushman steps out of his office, a large piece of logging machinery known as a feller buncher that can cut six or seven small trees at a time, severing the trunks at stump level and setting them aside for a skidder to haul out of the woods to a staging area for later sorting, de-limbing and, in some cases, chipping. It's getting close to quitting time on a 12-hour day, but downhill from Cushman there's still a lot of action going on as a crane plucks logs that have already been de-limbed, twirls them effortlessly, sorts and stacks them for delivery to various wood markets in Maine.
"We try to get the highest and best use out of the harvested timber that we can," Cushman says, explaining how the cutting operation in any given woodlot is guided by a "harvest prescription" that spells out what types of trees will be harvested, which ones will remain in place, and other forest management goals spelled out in that plan.