Logging Industry

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Logging Industry


the most important branch of forest industry; responsible for cutting, transporting, and floating timber. It is an important factor in the Soviet economy. The logging industry in foreign countries is usually part of forestry.

In prerevolutionary Russia, logging was done on a small scale. The operations involved in cutting and hauling timber were done manually.

An acute need for fuel was felt in the first years after the Great October Revolution. Therefore, until 1922 the emphasis was placed on obtaining firewood. The restoration and development of the economy led to a significant increase in logging (see Table 1).

Table 1. Timber cutting in the USSR (in millions of cubic feet)
Amount of commercial timber hauled .30.536.0117.9161.0261.5298.5297.6
Total amount of timber hauled .67.061.7246.1266.0369.5385.0383.0

The USSR leads the world (1972) in the amount of timber hauled.

In the USSR, logging is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Timber and Wood-products Industry of the USSR (59 percent of the total timber cut), the State Forestry Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR (12 percent), and other ministries and government departments. Timber is also hauled by kolkhozes and interkolkhoz organizations to satisfy their own needs (more than 24 million cu m a year).

Several forestry demands have to be met in logging, including complying with established width of clearing, preserving re-growth and young trees, removing slash from clearings, and leaving seed plants in place.

From 1927 to the mid-1950’s, logging was done mainly in the northern and northwestern parts of the European USSR, where forest resources have now declined as a result of intensive cutting. Logging has subsequently been widely developed in Siberia and the Far East. In 1972, 24.9 percent of the total logging was done in the Northwest, 16.9 percent in Eastern Siberia, 15 percent in the Urals, 8.0 percent in the Far East, 7.8 percent in Western Siberia, 7.7 percent in the Volga-Viatka region, and 7.5 percent in the Central Zone.

The development of new forests in the Northwest, Siberia, and Far East has made it necessary to build a network of broad-gauged logging railroad main lines to haul the timber in these areas.

The main production unit of the logging industry is the logging and timber distribution establishment (lespromkhoz). The annual capacity of these establishments ranges from 300,000 cu m to 700,000 cu m of timber hauled. The principal logging operations (felling trees, bringing trees to upper woodyards, hauling timber) have been mechanized. As of Jan. 1, 1973, the lumbering enterprises of the various ministries and departments had available 72,100 tractors, 35,100 timber-hauling trucks, 3,800 regular diesel locomotives and small diesel shunting locomotives, 517 semiautomatic lines for crosscutting logs and short sections and trimming off small branches, 966 bark-stripping machines, 6,700 loading cranes of all types, and 9,800 loaders. The average number of workers employed in the logging industry in 1972 was more than 1 million. Improved timber-hauling roads for year-round operation are being built. All these facilities lead to greatly increased labor productivity.

Considerable attention is being paid to making fuller and more efficient use of firewood as an industrial raw material. The industrial use of firewood and inferior hardwood and its waste products will add substantially to the timber supply without significantly increasing the amount of logging.

The amount of timber hauled in 1971 in foreign socialist countries (in millions of cu m) was 4.9 in Bulgaria, 14.6 in Czechoslovakia, 7.8 in East Germany, 5.4 in Hungary, 16 in Poland, 23 in Rumania, and 17 in Yugoslavia.

In capitalist countries the amount of timber hauled (in millions of cu m) was 340 in the United States (1971), 121 in Canada (1970), 64.3 in Sweden (1971), 49.8 in Japan (1970), 42.9 in Finland (1971), 34.8 in France (1971), and 28.3 in West Germany (1971). In the capitalist countries that possess a substantial timber potential, there is a tendency for the amount of forest cutting to increase at the same time that steps are taken to intensify forest management.


Direktivy XXIV s”ezda KPSS po piatiletnemu planu razvitiia narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR na 1971–1975 gody. Moscow, 1971.
Les—natsional’noe bogatstvo sovetskogo naroda. Collection of articles edited by N. V. Timofeev. Moscow, 1967.
Rodnenkov, M. G. Mekhanizatsiia i tekhnologiia lesozagotovitel’nykh rabot. Moscow, 1966.
Medvedev, N. A. Ekonomika lesnoi promyshlennosti. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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