A part of a course was also excercises to cut trees in the forest with a chainsaw. They taught us a lot about safety first, then about sortiment, and then we went.
I never did it before so teacher thought I am not going to pass. He gave me the smallest trees just in case. So we got them down, took branches away, which I would do with an axe, but then it would be impossible to do the measuring of sortiment at the same time.
Part of the course was also work with trimmer to select the trees in a young forest. This is the most interesting job, because you must recognize the trees after their bark. There were no leaves yet. There were no problems whith birch, and especially pine and spruce. If you see spruce, cut everything away around it in the radius of 3 m, teacher said.
Teacher also told us of the trash problem, which is I guess everywhere in Latvia. People bring trash to the forest despite that trash collector service in the country costs even less than 2 euros per month. You can easily earn it somewhere by working for an hour, but still people take their time and effort to bring stuff to the forest.
He also said that artificially planted forests have proven to be weaker and slower growing than naturally. His neighbour invested some money to plant spruces. Whereas he just let cheaper trees grow first, then spruces as far as there was shadow appeared and kept up quickly. After 15 years he cut the first trees – alders and willow, nice firewood, and made room for spruces, that already were stronger than what neighbour had from sertified arboretum.
Forests here are special, because you might get your chainsaw into a bullet from the WWII. At school they also taught us to be careful with every possible dark spot in the wood.
I was quite good with aiming, which was exam. Some other guys had problems because of being young and reckless. If your saw gets stuck, then you need another saw to get it out. Well, luckily there were many. Better aimer than me was only a man Aldis. He is a cartographer from Riga. He said, nowadays there is less job for him, because everything is done by satellites and computers, so he has more free time in the country. Aldis took the course, because in Latvia you need an education document to be allowed to work at your private forest, too. Not to talk about being a professional forest worker, where you need to complete not four days, but four years course. Otherwise it’s an administrative liability.