Sustainable Forestry

mixed growth forest

Horse Logging

Firth Maple Products cares about good forest management. Here are some of our reasons for using horses for logging.

  • Horses don’t cause soil compaction that heavy machinery will.
  • Trees have numerous roots close to the surface of the ground hat are easily damaged by heavy machinery.
  • Horses don’t cause rutted skid roads that are often associated with large machines.
  • The use of narrow roads also damages fewer trees.
  • Skidding log length instead of tree length allows for tight turns without damaging trees.

horse loggingWhenever possible, our timber harvesting operations use horse logging. While the initial cost of horses is slightly more, their long-term use more than pays for itself.

The light weight of horses is very effective in preventing soil compactions and erosion. The combination of shorter logs and narrow horse logging apparatus virtually eliminates the damage to the remaining trees often associated with conventional logging equipment.

The result is the best possible appearance, use, health, and yield of your timberlands!


old growth standThe word silviculture simply means the art and science of cultivating trees. Our silviculture is based on the belief that the economic and ecological success of a wood lot depends primarily on the biological health of its individual trees.

Hence our method of growing trees is to keep the healthiest trees in the woods, and do everything possible to maximize their physical and economic potential. For this reason we focus on removing the poorest trees first and harvest the nicest trees only as they near biological maturity.

It is also necessary to harvest trees that have suffered terminal damage or have a high chance of mortality (i.e. damage caused by lightning, wind, insect infestation, disease, etc.). Prompt removal of damaged timber can prevent further loss of value.

This method of cultivating trees is very similar to what would happen in a natural, undisturbed setting. When the healthiest trees are kept in the woods, it also naturally increases the longevity of the wood lot. Because this silviculture focuses on the long-term cultivation of the nicest trees, it requires a more intensive level of care and is appropriately called “tending.”

Sustainable Forestry Contact

For more information about silviculture and horse logging, contact Guy Dunkle at (814) 654-2435, ext 304, or email

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