Yes, at times we do agree @brads3
And of cause, since you play with real time aging:The first 50 years or so, there are more children and students, than in my vanilla aging and more mouths to feed for the adults. Since I play 4 times your speed, I need to build 4 times as much as you and need a lot of logs (and other building materials). And you are right, the CC merchants are very annoying. I wouldn't need many of them either. I use to buy building materials. I need a lot of it and avoid to build mines and quarries (ugly with a low productivity) and if I played CC, I would also buy most of the advanced building materials, too. Like Necora´s rope, they are mostly a loss to produce yourself. I also use to buy some food, not that I use to have too little of it, more to balance the diet. And of cause, like you at the beginning seeds and animals.
It's right, you can't look at the trade values only, when you chose a good trading product. A high price isn't always the same as a good profit. The highest profit from one worker, that I have seen is the CC charcoalburner; a product with a low price. It's only worth 3, but it needs very little raw material (1 log gives you 11 charcoal, if I remember right) and the productivity is huge (more than 2000 each year.) That means a profit of around 6000! I haven't played the latest version of CC, so this might have changed. The same, what I will say about your precious candles: last time I played CC, candles wasn't a good trading product. It's not a loss to produce, but you need a lot a wax and the productivity is low, so the annual profit was less than 100. Of cause the best trading good is something, you don't need yourself; like the beeswax, but if the production numbers haven't changed, it's better to sell the wax and let the candlemaker go fishing. (or work as a second gatherer)
I use to micromanage a lot in the North. In this game not so much; only if I have too much of something, like the wild animals, I might turn the trapper on and off every couple of years. As the lovely small houses only could hold a family of 3, I let the people swap houses, to get more children. I sometimes change the products I sell in the trading ports: Necoras mods have many products you can't use (yet) but the space in the small port is limited, so I sell one of these spare things at the time. And sometimes I change the production of some fields or of some of the shore fisher, so maybe you're right. I do micromanage more than I though, also in this game.
My experience is, you can't say, how much more a second (or 3 or 4) worker in a site gives. It's very different. It can be between 100% and 0. I can only recommend, to check it out. A good strategy is to start with just one (or 2 if it's a vanilla gatherer or fisher for 4 workers) and if you suddenly realize, that you need more food, it's faster to increase the number of workers in an existing site, than build a new.
I almost forgot; I played a few more years to study my forests and yes; the production in the dense forests is a little bit lower, but not so much, that it explains your numbers. The last 3 years the total average production was; pine forest; 810/1126, maple forest: 2460/2750. For the trapper it's hard to see a difference. It varies a lot and is low in both forests, (average 48). For some reason I don't understand, the dense pine forest makes 28% less, the dense maple forest only 10%. There must be some other reason, that yours give so little. Are all stones, iron and vanilla trees cleared out of the forest? Is the circle of the forest limited from buildings, mountains.....? Do you have enough free laborers to carry the stuff out of the woods or must the gatherers/trappers do it themselves? Is there enough room in close barns? Do the workers live far away or close? Many things can have an influence on productivity. Probably more than if there's an active forester in the forest or not.