Forested landscapes, whether publicly or privately owned, provide many essential economic, environmental, health, and recreational benefits for residents and visitors alike. Conducting a commercial timber harvest may be one way to develop a network of woods roads that will provide long-term access to your woodlot while meeting other forest management objectives. The present value of the diameter-limit cut stand in real dollars adjusted for inflation is $378.23 per acre. In reality, such "selective" cutting often does far more harm than a properly prescribed and implemented clearcut. Clear-cutting is the most common method of timber removal. Keeping the Forest Healthy and Productive, Part 6. These are trees of a set diameter and larger--in other words, the biggest and often genetically superior of the stand. Silviculture is a term used to describe the practice of controlling and enhancing the establishment, growth, composition, health, quality, and vigor of a forestland through the implementation of a variety of management strategies such as thinning, harvesting, and planting. In what other ways is timber harvesting an essential tool for you, the woodland steward? Clear-cutting removes all the trees in a given area, often by using large machinery. We have a choice--to repeat past errors at the expense of our woodlands' productivity or work together to sustain our forest resources into the future. The forest is a complex natural system. The effect is to increase the average tree size, retain trees that grow better, and reduce the time until the next harvest. Consulting foresters are educated and trained on sustainable forest management and proper silvicultural practices and techniques. Why Invasive Species Management is Important, Timber Stand Inventory: What it is & Why it’s Important. In a fairly uniform, low-grade stand with a high proportion of decayed or defective trees in the larger diameter ranges, a modified diameter-based cut can be prescribed to regulate stand structure and species composition. The study showed that the average forester-assisted competitive bid sale yielded more than twice the actual sale revenue of the comparable nonassisted or "logger's choice" sale. A Timber Harvest Plan (THP) is a document which details planned logging operations and the steps that will be taken to minimize environmental impacts of these operations. Properly harvesting trees will also speed up the rate of growth to residual trees allowing for more frequent harvesting. It is often used to mask high-grading. In addition to providing income, tree harvesting can enhance: forest health and appearance productivity wildlife habitat recreational access property values water quality Selection is a regeneration method designed to create or perpetuate an uneven-aged forest. Sustainable timber harvest analysis. Diminishes the risk of forest fire – Since logging requires the cutting of trees, then it is likely that … From an economic standpoint, the benefit of this approach is that humans can harvest maximum timber with minimal energy and cost. In some cases, thinning a stand can improve recreational access as well as stand appearance. The art and science of tending a stand of trees based on ecological principles is called silviculture. There is concern that, because of its prevalence, diameter-based cutting may be contributing to a broad-scale decline in forest resource quality. Like leasing acreage to a farmer, harvesting and selling some of your timber can, of course, be a significant source of revenue: In some cases, it may be the economic factor that makes owning the land affordable and helps subsidize your private hunting domain. The process of cutting trees and transporting them through a forest will disrupt a forest watershed, but you can use Best Management Practices to minimize that disturbance and protect your waterways and wildlife habitat. Silvicultural treatments like thinning are not used just for timber management. On advice from a neighbor, he contacted a forester to help plan a timber sale. Ironically, many landowners are indifferent until they've had a negative experience with a timber harvest. Timber harvesting allows for regeneration by creating openings in the forest canopy thereby allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor and by creating space for new seedlings to take root and begin growing. If the original treatment had incorporated a sense of stewardship and sound forest management, the Wolcotts would have been able to use their timber asset to meet current objectives. Do you really need a plan to manage your woodlot or harvest your timber? Figure 2. Preserve much of the aesthetic and habitat value while allowing enough light to reach the ground for a new forest of desirable species to grow. For a current listing of these professionals, contact your local Bureau of Forestry office. This difference represents the premium in large, high-quality timber from sound forest management and the equity lost through high-grading. But as a forest steward, you need to define your ownership objectives and develop a long-term management plan before you decide to log your woodlot. Unfortunately, many landowners underestimate the complexities of timber harvesting and often are unprepared for a long-term commitment to forest management. In December 2016, Governor Dayton requested the DNR analyze the sustainability of harvesting one million cords of timber per year from DNR-managed forest lands. We must balance our growing demand for timber and fiber with the realization that our forest resources have other benefits and values. (Please remember, timber harvesting poses a risk of injury to the logging crew. The benefits of harvesting does early season outweighs waiting until it's nearly over. A pervasive form of selective cutting is high-grading--a term used to describe any harvesting method that removes only the most valuable timber. A performance bond usually is posted to ensure that the logging operation meets the landowner's expectations of appearance and that roads and skid trails are left in a stable condition in order to minimize impacts on water resources and aquatic life. As part of normal operating procedures, a timber harvest supervised by a qualified natural resource professional includes erosion and sedimentation controls and safeguards to protect residual timber. Harvesting can remove poorly formed trees, lower-value species, damaged trees, and mature trees that will provide more growing space for residual trees. Timber harvesting is just one of many management practices--not an end in itself, but part of an integrated, long-term management plan. Indeed, the income you get from selling timber will often pay for a number of other woodland management activities. The distribution curve for the entire stand would look like that for the individual species, with many young trees and fewer mature trees all present in the same stand. In some places, a thinning was prescribed; in others, there was nothing to do but start over with a series of patch cuts. A timber harvest can provide multiple benefits to a landowner. Promotes biodiversity. Diameter-based harvest treatments can incorporate good forestry, but they seldom do. But being well informed and working together is a giant step in the right direction. There are legitimate uses for diameter-based harvests. For example, the forest soils can be protected to minimize the potential of nutrient removal while protecting the availability of water, oxygen and water absorption. With high-grading methods there are no long-term management goals. Why do we need this? Part 3. In any timber sale, some large trees should be allowed to remain in the stand because: Conversely, some smaller-diameter trees often should be removed for equally valid reasons: Trees may also suffer from "thinning-shock," a stress that may lead to mortality or dieback of branches in the crown. Benefits from timber harvests A source of forest products - Trees provide many of life's necessities, including pulp for paper and lumber for our homes and furniture. Natural disturbances such as windstorms, fire, insects, and diseases interrupt natural succession and affect forest structure and composition. Selected dead trees or snags may be left as den trees for cavity-nesting species or as perches for raptors and other birds. The shaded area of Figure 4 represents those trees that are removed by the indicated treatment. A recent study of a 40-year-old stand of upland, mixed oak-hickory type in southern Missouri (Dwyer and Kurtz 1991) points out the potential loss of income from diameter-limit cutting. Timber harvesting It is also beneficial to the wildlife that lives on the land. In addition, the merchantable volume in the residual stand was twice as great for the forester-assisted sales. Figure 3. Although the demand and collection of timber has grown over the years, the U.S. has more trees today than it did 50 years ago as a result of advancements in research and education regarding sustainable forest management practices. Stand development under even-aged management. During a Timber Harvest, the dead, dying and diseased trees are removed, thus preventing the spread of the fungi or bacteria which may damage other parts of the forest. Even-aged multispecies stand. Pennsylvania’s forests.Tracts of forest land of all types and sizes are important to our communities. Thereby significantly increasing productivity of the stand. It may generate the highest immediate cash flow, but it does not take other costs, such as potential environmental degradation and future timber values, into consideration. This article discusses how you can use harvesting as a management tool to improve your woodlands while also safeguarding against poor harvesting practices. Are you one of Pennsylvania's many thousands of woodland owners? Based on this plan, they contacted a local forester to help them find their boundaries and assess the value of their timberland. Sometimes income from the timber sale may be reduced in exchange for little or no out-of-pocket roadbuilding expenses. The decomposition of CWD also adds nutrients to the soil thereby aiding in the health and growth of vegetation, which in turn provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife. Unfortunately, fewer than 20 percent of all timber harvests in Pennsylvania involve the services of a forester or natural resource professional. Figure 1. The Bureau of Forestry compiles a list of forest stewardship resource professionals who have completed stewardship training and are authorized to write forest stewardship plans. Whether you harvest a large area for forest products or cut a few cords of firewood to heat your home, you affect wildlife and its habitat. Note that variations in diameter among individual trees in a homogenous even-aged stand are due to variations in sunlight, water, and growing space available to each individual, as well as to genetic differences among individuals. However, if a stand is thinned by the use of a sustainable timber harvest, the trees left behind are granted more space to grow and better access to nutrients. Other disturbances, such as prescribed burning and herbicide application, can greatly improve wildlife habitat for many species while benefiting timber production. Proper timber harvesting promotes biodiversity of tree species and wildlife because it allows... 3. The seed source for the next generation of some species may be lost as well, so that if seed from another source is not introduced, future stands on the site will also lack diversity. On the other hand, harvesting by selecting individual trees mimics the natural process whereby small openings are created when individual trees die. Foresters influence growth of individual trees and the overall stand by manipulating stand structure. The intent of the cut shown in Figure 5 is to improve the residual stand, encourage regeneration in the gaps created, and, most important, retain trees in all size classes, especially some larger trees. Remember that the reverse is true--the trees in this stand are all of the same age. Sound forestry practices are designed to control stand density and species composition, to allocate site resources, and to encourage selected trees, known as "crop trees," to regenerate and grow. Nonetheless, forests are living communities of plants and animals, and they will not remain productive and healthy if continually mistreated. (260) 668-9977, Timber Marking & Marketing – How it Works. Some trees develop larger crowns and increase in diameter more quickly. The long-term detrimental effect is severe when only less competitive individuals are left in the stand. Pre-harvest inventories of First, you serve your own best interest by understanding your forest resources and the options for managing them. Timber is one of the few natural, renewable building materials. In the sections that follow, we encourage you to consult a forester or other natural resource professional to develop a management plan for your woodlot. Maintaining the Aesthetic Beauty and Enhancing the Recreational and Cultural Values of Your Forest, Part 7. Most of Pennsylvania's current forests are the same age or even-aged, resulting from extensive turn-of-the-century logging (see Figure 1). The shaded area of Figure 5 represents those trees that are removed by the indicated treatment. In addition, the removal of all large trees extends the time to the next commercial harvest. Instead of a large partial cut, their forester suggested a series of small patch cuts. In fact, these practices can degrade the forest and subsequently reduce its future value for timber and other benefits. Figure 6 shows a preferred thinning for an even-aged multispecies stand. To use it rationally requires a broad understanding of the biological processes involved as well as an appreciation for the economic, social, and personal pressures that influence woodlot management decisions. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Plan your timber sale carefully--the long-term impacts of poor logging practices, such as repeated high-grading, threaten a rude awakening to the vision of sustainable forest management. Although twice as much timber is growing in Pennsylvania's forests as is being harvested, mounting demands on a productive but limited resource means we need to manage our forests more intensively to meet future needs. To maximize profits, landowners often sidestep the assistance of a professional forester and sell their "biggest and best" trees rather than investing in sound forest management. Any timber harvest disturbs the natural ecosystem. This bulletin is available from your county extension office. A forest is more than a collection of trees. Selective cutting is a vaguely defined term that has little meaning. When performed in a mindful manner, clearcutting is a beneficial timber harvest technique. As a result: (1) landowners often lose income because they sell timber without adequate information, and (2) millions of acres of forestland lack ongoing management. When done properly, timber harvesting is a great way to encourage the growth and regeneration of desirable tree species in your forest for the future. That vegetation is important for providing inputs of coarse woody debris and fine litter to water bodies; retaining nutrients, sediment … Get notified when we have news, courses, or events of interest to you. The cutover land had grown back, but the stands had developed into an open forest with fern and grass occupying the understory space. Sustainable Forestry- What Does It Mean For Indiana? We identify poor harvesting techniques that can degrade your forestland. Pennsylvania's forests are our true common wealth. Woodland owners who do not work with a forester risk receiving a lower income from the current timber sale. Research has shown that active forest … Landholders who own land for a year or longer and sell the timber receive preferential tax treatment, because the IRS considers these sales as capital gains and … Save some of the best trees and remove the rest. Dead trees compound the risk. The variation in size classes among the trees may lead the casual observer to conclude that the stand is uneven-aged. Make sure your requirements are in concert with safe logging practices.). Many even-aged stands are more complex than the stand represented in Figure 2 and contain a wide range of species with varying growth rates. Throughout this bulletin, we've identified the benefits of timber harvesting as a tool of forest stewardship. If a woodland becomes overstocked and overcrowded, the growth capability of the trees will be hindered and slowed, as a result of their competition for space, water, sunlight, and other vital nutrients. Although a strict diameter-limit cut is seldom justified, a modified diameter-based cutting with silvicultural "standards" is an intermediate treatment that does have its place. In the end, the forester recommended a thorough inventory of the entire parcel and developed a plan for a stepwise rehabilitation of the degraded stands through timber stand improvement and fencing, and herbicide treatments to exclude deer and control competing vegetation. How to develop a stewardship plan is outlined in Forest Stewardship 6: Forest Stewardship--Planning Your Forest's Future. The seven benefits of timber harvesting outlined below assume a timber harvest is conducted correctly, ethically, and sustainably. If you decide to harvest timber, a working stewardship plan can be the framework for harvesting. Diameter-based cutting, or some variation of it, is the most widely used harvest method in Pennsylvania. This was a difference of $37.17 per acre--an attractive proposition if you're only looking at the short-term gain (see table below). Creating small openings in dense forest can provide habitat for different wildlife species and may create a vista for you and your family to enjoy. View our privacy policy. See All Pest, Disease and Weed Identification, See All Beer, Hard Cider, and Distilled Spirits, See All Community Planning and Engagement, Note: BF = board feet, MBF = thousand board feet, CD = cord, they may still be increasing in diameter at an acceptable rate, they provide a seed source for regeneration, and mast for wildlife, they act as a "nurse" crop by providing protection for shade-loving seedlings, they give the stand aesthetic appeal and structural diversity, they have been suppressed so long, they may not respond to release, they are poor-quality trees that interfere with the growth of desirable species, they may be undesirable species and have little timber value in the future stand, they may suffer from surrounding soil compaction or their stem may be damaged during harvesting, original age, size, species composition (structure). --can bring additional profit without adversely affecting stand biodiversity and productivity. Shelterwood System - An even-aged silvicultural scheme in which a new stand is established under the protection of a partial canopy of trees. Sustainable forest management balances the needs of the environment while conserving our forests for future generations by ensuring their continued regeneration (growth) and overall health. Timber harvesting is an artificial disturbance that also affects the ecosystem. For each species present, the graph of the distribution would be similar to that shown in Figure 4: an "inverse J-shaped curve," indicating a large number of very young seedlings and saplings and a small number of the largest mature trees. Timber harvesting is a forest management tool that can be used to achieve a number of different objectives for your woodland property. The bell curve in Figure 2 illustrates the distribution of trees by diameter that would be found in an even-aged stand composed of only one species. High-grading removes so many trees of a merchantable diameter that it simplifies stand structure. In many regions of the world, a timber harvest plan is required before logging can proceed, and these documents are open to public comment before they are approved. Details about the Forest Stewardship Program and the Stewardship Incentive Program's (SIP) cost-sharing activities are presented in Forest Stewardship 1: Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship: Our Link to the Past, Our Legacy for the Future. They use their understanding of the way a forest develops to apply silvicultural treatments, such as harvesting or thinning, at different stages in a forest's life. The current cash flow generated by an 11-inch diameter-limit harvest was $115.23 per acre, while thinning returned only $78.06 per acre. The Society of American Foresters defines selective cutting as "a type of exploitation cutting that removes only certain species (a) above a certain size (b) of high value. 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