Loggers and Foresters are commonly confused with one another. To understand the differences consider the roles of architects and builders. Architects work with people to design the kind of home they would like. The architect's plan is implemented by a builder who turns it into reality. The best blueprint isn't worth anything if it isn't in the hands of a good builder. Foresters can serve as forest "architects", helping landowners develop goals, understand available options, and design a harvest to meet the goals. The logger is the "builder" and is involved with the implementation of the "blue print" or timber harvest.
A timber harvester, or logger, is in the business of cutting down trees, cutting them into logs, removing the logs from the woods to the roadside and transporting the logs to the sawmill. They are usually in business independently or may be in the employment of a sawmill.
Timber Harvesters in Massachusetts are required to hold a state license which is based on passing a written exam of relevant laws and must participate in ongoing continuing education. A licensed timber harvester is required on all harvests which have a forest cutting plan.
Logging is dangerous and physically demanding work. It usually entails long hours in remote and difficult terrain, and requires significant investment in equipment. A quality logger must be able to remove forest products from the woods safely and efficiently.
Since landowners are responsible for meeting all laws relevant to timber harvesting, a quality logger must also have a firm grasp of the MA Forest Cutting Practices regulation, designed to protect water quality and endangered species, to help ensure your compliance.
Finding a quality logger with the right type of equipment for your woods is a critical part of the timber harvest. Your forester can guide you to quality loggers right for your harvest. Some of the important questions to have answered when hiring a logger are: Do they have a current and valid timber harvester's license, Are they covered under workers' compensation and liability insurance and for how much, What type of equipment do they use, What types of continuing education have they completed, How long have they been in business, and Can they supply you with references of landowners and mills they deal with.
Working with a forester to design a harvest and a quality logger to implement it ensures that you will meet your management goals and legal obligations.