The Basics Of Forestry Mulching

By Eugenia Dickerson

Forestry mulching is a technique used in land clearing. In this method, a single machine is used to clear, cut and grind vegetation. The machine that is used for this exercise is also referred to as a brushcutter, a mulcher or a masticator. The machine has steel chipper tools that move in rotatory fashion as they shred vegetation. On average, each mulcher can clear up to 15 acres of land per day depending on the nature of terrain and type of vegetation.

This clearing method has a wide range of applications. One of the areas in which it is used is in right-of-way clearance. This is often required for roads, pipelines, highways and other types of utility lines. Mulchers are preferred in such cases because they can remove all standing trees, vegetation and stumps with ease. This ability also makes them a good choice for clearing land that is to be used for creation of commercial and residential projects.

The technique is quite popular among conservationist groups who use it in the conservation of riparian habitats and wetlands. Groups of organizations that take part in this exercise include non-governmental organizations, government agencies, private land owners and hunt clubs among others. Clearance of habitats serves a number of functions. This process creates room for growth of newer grasses that are a source of food for the organisms. The exercise also improves access to water sources for the animals.

Mulching is also used in managing and preventing wild fires. By reducing the amount of ground cover, the chances of starting and propagating fires is reduced. Materials such as rotten trees, dry leaves and other fuel sources are usually are known to propagate fires once they start. When a fire starts, the process may be undertaken so as to create a fire break and to prevent spread. A clean-up process can also be done using a mulcher so as to control soil erosion after a fire outbreak.

There are a number of benefits that are realised by users of this method. Perhaps the most important of them is the fact that it is a time saving technique. Since the clearing process is done in a single stage, the many steps of conventional methods such as site preparation, felling and cutting of trees are all avoided. Only a single machine is required here and this means that the eventual cost is reduced.

Another advantage is that mulchers can operate in difficult terrains and in poor climatic conditions. There is no need to postpone the exercise to wait for favourable conditions. In spite of their immense power, the machines are very friendly to the environment. Their use is associated with very limited disturbance to the soil. The traditional methods cause significance soil erosion and a reduction in productivity in the soil.

There are a number of disadvantages that exist. One of them is that only vegetation can be effectively moved by the machines. It is difficult to process stones and rocks and these frequently lead to wear and tear of the teeth that are used by the machine. The use of the machine requires that the area is accessible by road which is not always possible.

Forestry mulching is a technique that continues to grow in popularity by the day. As a method of clearing land, it is very cost effective. The method has numerous advantages over the traditional techniques. The disadvantages are very few.

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