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Calif. Logger’s Success Tied to Lumber Producer
Eastside Logging finds Timberline SDL 2a stroke boom delimber is good fit for terrain, trees, customer
By Jack Petree
Date Posted: 2/4/2003
COTTONWOOD, California -- Buz Boyd says it is easy to explain how his company has been successful in recent years. "Our major client is Roseburg Lumber Company," he said. "They are recognized throughout the industry as being one of the most ethical and environmentally conscious timber companies in the world."
As a contractor for Roseburg, Buz must work to the lumber company’s expectations. "If you do your best to live up to the standards of a company like that," he said, "you can’t help but do well. Because to live up to those standards, you have to always strive to make your own company the best it can possibly be."
His company, Eastside Logging Inc. is headquartered in the north-central California community of Cottonwood. To the north, east, and west are some of the world’s most productive timberlands. Roseburg Lumber has large holdings scattered throughout the region that it manages for sustainable yield, biodiversity, and other environmental values. Eastside Logging contracts with Roseburg to harvest timber when cutting is required to maximize the health and long-term sustainability of the forest.
Eastside Logging originally was two separate firms. The logging business was owned by Brent Henning, and Buz owned a trucking company and contracted to haul chips and logs for Eastside. "In 2000 Brent decided he wanted to sell his company and retire," Buz recounted. "It was a natural progression for me to make an offer and buy the firm. My trucks needed a job, and Eastside was a good company with stable prospects, so it made a lot of sense to expand in that way."
Buz was attracted by the opportunity of purchasing Eastside Logging and working for its most important customer, Roseburg Lumber Co. Roseburg is recognized as a leading forest products company. In addition to its manufacturing facilities, which make it a leading producer of engineered wood products as well as a top supplier of dimension lumber, plywood, and other wood products, the company owns and manages nearly 800,000 acres of forest lands in southern Oregon and northern California.
Although acquiring Eastside Logging was a natural complement to his trucking business, Buz said the big attraction was working with a company with a high ethic like Roseburg. "Roseburg says their core value is, ‘We do what we say and cherish our reputation for credibility and integrity,’ " Buz commented. "I have found they live up to that statement in every way. Who wouldn’t be attracted to working for a company with that approach to business?"
Most of the work that Eastside Logging does for Roseburg is oriented to harvesting stems for one of its plywood mills. "Almost everything we do is selective logging or thinning," said Buz.
Eastside Logging subcontracts for felling with Two Bit Logging, which uses a Timbco feller to drop the trees. Buz subcontracts with the company because of the experience and performance of the operator who runs the Timbco machine. "These guys have got the best operator in the region running their equipment," he said. "I want the best people working my jobs, and the only way I can get him is to contract with them, so I do."
About 90% or more of the forest that Eastside harvests has been logged once, twice, or even more in the past. That makes skill in the felling operation critical to the success of the harvest. "We’ve got to look to the future," said Buz. "So it’s important to do as little damage as possible to the trees we’re leaving behind for the next harvest. That’s why I want top people working the harvest for Eastside Logging."
The top people include his son, James, who supervises harvest operations. His nephew, John Taylor, runs the delimber. Tom Porter, Clint Oilar, Rick Mason, Matt Arrowsmith and Mike Beloat do the skidding, maintain the machinery, and do other tasks around the landing.
All of the men have been with Eastside for some time and are experts at what they do. "You just can’t produce without a top-flight crew, especially at the levels of expertise Roseburg expects of its contractors," said Buz. "Our crew has been the best, and they are a good part of the reason we’ve done well."
Once trees are felled on an Eastside Logging site, they are skidded to landings carefully selected to allow efficient, productive harvesting operations with as little impact as possible. Eastside owns three skidders, all Cats: a two Cat 518 machines and a Cat 525.The centerpiece of the operations is the Timberline SDL 2a stroke boom delimber, which prepares logs for shipment to the mill.
Buz decided on the technology of a stroke boom delimber because it is the most appropriate machinery available for the terrain and trees as well as for the requirements of Roseburg Lumber. When stems are delimbed at the landing, Buz noted, the company is able to recover tops, which are chipped on the job site. The chips are sold for fuel to a cogeneration plant.
In recovering wood fiber from this part of the tree and supplying fuel to the cogeneration industry, companies like Roseburg Lumber are ahead of an important curve that will have considerable impact on the forest products industry in coming years. According to the U.S. Forest Service, increasing the amount of wood fiber removed from the forest and utilized for forest products is a significant greenhouse gas reduction strategy. The reason is because tops and other material that are left in woods to rot or burn release carbon. Large amounts of wood fiber are left in the woods to decay after harvest and as a result of natural events and causes, such as storms, fire, and disease. Energy specialists are seeking to increase biomass-fueled generation of electricity because every kilowatt of electricity produced in a cogeneration plant replaces a kilowatt generated by burning fossil fuels. The result of burning less fossil fuels is a vital reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
Recovering and chipping tops to produce energy instead of leaving them in the woods to decay and release carbon into the atmosphere provides a significant benefit to the environment. The strategy is another reason that Buz and other contractors are especially proud to be associated with and working for Roseburg Lumber.
Buz selected the Timberline stroke boom delimber because it is efficient, stable, heavy-duty, and simple to operate and maintain. Simplicity in operation and maintenance is important, he said, because the machine must be running most of the time. The simpler a machine can be in design and construction and efficiently perform the tasks demanded of it, the less likely it is to break down, said Buz. If it does break down, a machine with simplicity engineered into it is more likely to be repairable on-site, with a minimum of lost time.
The power of the Timberline SDL 2a stroke boom delimber was another important factor in the selection process, according to Buz. The machine must perform under a wide variety of conditions on an equally wide range of timber sizes. And the pine timber that makes up the bulk of the harvests presents a very tough prospect to any delimber, especially if the stems are large. The Timberline SDL 2a has the power to efficiently delimb both large trees and small without causing undue harm to the wood.
Buz researched other equipment besides the Timberline SDL 2a. "The machine came highly recommended" by another logging business, he said, Wheeler Logging in Red Bluff. "Our own Timberline has turned out to be everything they told me it would be," said Buz.
Once the trees have been processed, the resulting products – logs or chips -- are hauled to their ultimate destination. Most of the trucking is handled by Eastside Logging’s own fleet of trucks. The company is running seven vehicles. When operating at maximum capacity in areas where longer hauls are required, as many as 15 trucks are used. Occasionally contract haulers will be hired to supplement Eastside’s own fleet.
"I really enjoy the people in this trade, and I enjoy the work," said Buz. "A person has to make a living. I’ve been fortunate to be able to make it in a trade that brings something of value to society.
"The trees in the forest grow," he continued. "They don’t just sit there. If the forest is managed well, it not only gives us the wood we need but it also gives us a lot of environmental benefits. That’s why I’ve enjoyed working with Roseburg so much. They look to the long view. They’re very careful about making sure all of the good things the forest provides for the environment are preserved even as we are able to use the wood from it. They really mean it when they step out and tell the world that conscientious stewardship of the natural resource and the environment is a core value to them. That kind of attention to the environment allows me to take pride in what I’m doing at the same time that I’m able to make a living doing it."
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