The Three Types of Logging Systems

The Three Types of Logging Systems

Originating during the Jamestown settlement in 1607, there’s no debate that logging has been a vital industry for centuries. Unsurprisingly, innovation took on the logging industry in full force, making the process of logging much more efficient. The innovation eventually led to the three types of logging systems. We’re going to break down the three systems in our guide below; read on to learn more.


Many large-scale logging companies use the clearcutting method to harvest timber. The clearcutting system removes all the trees in a designated area (typically a woodlot). The reason many logging companies practice clearcutting is simply because it’s fast and cheap. Of course, there’s always a trade-off. Despite wood being a renewable resource, many environmental advocates are strongly against clearcutting for a few reasons. First, clearcutting can destroy wildlife’s habitat. Additionally, some logging companies don’t have a regeneration strategy, although most do have some type of strategy in place.


Another common logging technique is the shelterwood system. As opposed to taking every and any tree in a particular area, shelterwood only takes trees that are of similar age and size. The key with shelterwood is that it leaves mature trees to support growth from seed trees. In other words, the shelterwood system naturally has a regeneration strategy in place. Another feature of the shelterwood system is that it incorporates a silvicultural system, that is, it controls the forest’s species and growth.

Selective Cutting

As you might suspect by its name, the selective cutting system is the least destructive logging method. The primary difference about selective cutting is that it only removes trees of a specific type, size (or age), and quality. The logging companies that use selective companies are typically hired by companies that require a specific wood species or quantity. The primary benefit of selective cutting is that it doesn’t affect the growth of surrounding trees. The downfall, however, is that it gets more expensive over time because regeneration is much slower.

While each of the three types of logging systems is different, they all have one thing in common: their equipment. Of course, there are various types of machinery that can make the job more efficient, and every system must get the lumber out of the forest once it’s cut down. Most logging companies will use a logging choker (among other accessories) at some point in their process.

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