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by DEAN GUERNSEY

The Melcher Logging Co. uses mechanical loggers to thin forest 10 times faster than could be done by hand, working in winter to minimize damage to the land. Most companies won't even bother harvesting thin trees like those shown (top). Robbie Melcher (middle), a third-generation logger, tightens the rigging between a log truck and a trailer loaded with logs. The Melchers use a single grip harvester (bottom) to cut a tree, strip its limbs, cut it to length and stack it neatly, all in 30 seconds or less.

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