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Lumberjacks are workers in the logging industry who chop down and transport trees. The term usually refers to a bygone era (before 1945) when hand tools such as axes and saws were used in harvesting trees, but the lumberjack has since become ingrained in popular culture.
Modern timber cutters use chainsaws or mobile felling machines to fell trees using knowledge of tree characteristics and cutting techniques to control the direction of the fall and minimize tree damage. Other duties of logging workers include: fastening cables around logs to be dragged by tractors, operating tractors that drag logs to a landing or deck area, separating logs by species and type of wood, grading logs according to characteristics such as knot size and straightness, and loading logs onto trucks.
Many state forestry or logging associations provide training sessions for tree fallers, whose job duties require more skill and experience than do other positions on the logging team. Loggers may be employed by logging contractors or the owners of privately owned forest land used as tree farms. Timber management practices include sustainable forestry to maximize the value of all harvests. The timber they process provides the raw material for many consumer goods and industrial products, such as wood and paper.
Logging work is often seasonal. Workers spend all their working hours outdoors, sometimes in poor weather and often in isolated areas. They may have to commute long distances between their homes and logging sites. In some areas of the country, they are given accommodations near the logging site.
Although timber cutting and logging equipment has greatly improved and operations have become increasingly mechanized, logging is still dangerous work and very labor intensive. Most logging occupations involve lifting, climbing, and other strenuous activities. Falling branches and rough terrain are constant hazards, as are the dangers associated with felling trees and handling logs.
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