June 2012    
Letter from the Editor


In Catskill WoodNet News, I typically try to find links and resources that help the region's forest products industry be more competitive in this cutthroat 21st century marketplace. In the past, we've shared with you links such as Planning and Analysis in Timber Harvesting (a free cost-analysis tool for loggers) and DEC and NYS Ag and Markets articles dealing with Emerald Ash Borer regulations.


That stuff can get a little heavy after a while, so for this issue, I thought I'd lighten things up a bit the best way I know how - with explosives.


We all know hazard trees are dangerous (hence, "hazard" tree). Snags can behave very unpredictably, and they're often the cause of logging accidents. Out west, they're dealing with these dead trees more and more thanks to the voracious Mountain Pine Beetle. Letting all those dead trees stand presents a huge fire hazard, but logging in a stand of them is even more dangerous.


The Forest Service's solution? Shrink-wrap explosives to the bases of dead trees and watch them drop like dominoes.


I found a pair of stories about this back in May in The Missoulian (here's the second one), and I had to share them. Apparently, the explosion can be controlled well enough that it doesn't just blow the tree to smithereens. Instead, it directionally fells the tree. If they do a good job placing the explosives, blasters (how's that for a job title?) can drop "50 trees at once, laying them 'like hair on a dog's back' for easy decking and removal."


Don't believe me? The Missoulian posted this video of a blast in action.


Obviously, this isn't something for the uninitiated, and something tells me we won't be replacing chainsaws with explosives any time soon. Even so, leave it to OSHA to already have  standards for loggers working with explosives.

I'll leave you with this pearl of wisdom from one of the articles: "While the idea makes sense in theory, it takes a lot of on-the-ground practice before foresters feel safe to have it in their toolbox." Yeah, I'll bet.


All the best,


   Joshua VanBrakle

Wood Products Utilization and Marketing Specialist

Watershed Agricultural Council Forestry Program

(607) 865-7790 ext. 112

[email protected] 

Webinar and Workshop Opportunities

Unfortunately, I have yet to find any workshops where they teach you how to blow up trees with high explosives. I'll keep looking. In the meantime, USA Local Woods, a wood products market development project sponsored by the US Forest Service and North Carolina State University, is hosting a series of webinars (those are online workshops you can attend from your computer, for those of us still in the 20th century) and workshops on a whole host of wood products industry topics. For links to past webinars and to see the schedule for upcoming ones, check out their website.


NYS Woodsmen's Field Days

The 2012 NYS Woodsmen's Field Days is being held August 17-19 in Boonville, NY. Loggers with current Trained Logger Certification (TLC) are eligible for a free t-shirt and baseball cap from the TLC booth in the Kiwanis Building.

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