The Introduction of a Chip Mill: Effects on Deforestation Rates and Timber Harvest Locations in Southeast Missouri


Amy Keister

Date of Graduation

Fall 2002


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Rex Cammack


The introduction of chip mills across the southern United States has been accompanied by an abundance of questions regarding the impact of this technology on forest environmental quality. In Missouri, the introduction of chip mills caused enough concern that the governor organized a committee to research the possible implications of this type of wood processing. This study investigates one of the chip mills and its effects on deforestation rates and timber harvest locations in southeast Missouri. One objective of this study was to locate areas of deforestation and reforestation in the time periods before and after the introduction of the chip mill using remote sensing methods. Another objective was to locate areas of steep slopes or riparian buffers that may be environmentally sensitive to timber harvesting activities and determine if there was an increase in timber harvesting activities in these locations after the introduction of the chip mill. This study found that there had been an increase in total deforestation and in deforestation of environmentally sensitive areas after the introduction of the chip mill, however, this increase was slight. Possible errors introduced into the data set by remote sensing methods such as classification errors, majority filtering, and threshold selection may account for the measured increase in deforestation. This study found that the introduction of the chip mill in question did not have a major impact on deforestation rates or deforestation rates in environmentally sensitive aras over the two year time period after its introduction. Future work is needed to more fully understand the impact of this type of wood processing on the forest environment. Further research should measure forest fragmentation and include data on soil properties in harvested areas.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Amy Keister