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Fitzpatrick & Weller
Fitzpatrick & Weller

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Nov 2

Written by: Fitzweller Administrator
11/2/2009 8:33 AM 

In American hardwood forestry, the predominant harvesting method is single-tree selection-not clear-cutting. Foresters choose individual trees for harvest based on a complex array of considerations.

In practice for decades, this harvesting method mirrors the natural process of single trees or small groups of trees dying and falling, or being blown down by localized winds.

A well-planned harvest pays at least as much attention to the trees that will remain as to those that will be removed.

American hardwood forests are not uniform plantations or even-aged, single species mono-cultures. They are instead complex ecosystems that are home to a diversity of tree species of varying ages: sprout, seedling and sapling, mature and aging; dying and decaying.

In a hardwood forest, trees compete for the water and sunlight that come through the forest canopy-the leafy "roof" over the forest floor. Carefully removing individual trees creates openings in that canopy so that more precipitation, sunlight and nutrients reach the forest floor. This type of thinning improves growing conditions. No longer suppressed by larger trees, the seedlings and saplings are free to grow vigorously.

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1 comment(s) so far...

Re: Single-tree Selection is Predominant Harvesting Method

Actually, most forests are even-aged in the northeast due to rapid clear-cutting around the turn of the century. That being said, even-aged management schemes are often times more well-suited in this part of the country, and much easier to practice at an optimal level.

It is true that single species, even-aged, mono-cultures or plantations are rare in the northeast. These particular stands are very common in the southeast, and consist of many softwoods such as pine, namely the "big four" - Slash Pine, Loblolly Pine, Shortleaf pine, and longleaf pine, which can account for more than half of the southeast's pulpwood production.

It is important that land owners are able to make a distinction between single-tree selection (uneven-aged management) and diameter limit cutting/selective cutting/high-grading. These practices are merely cutting and not a part of forestry. This is when the most desirable trees of the best quality are removed, leaving behind a residual stand of inferior trees. Unfortunately, this is a common practice and should be avoided in most cases.

Please contact Jeremy Stitt at Fitzpatrick & Weller, Inc. with any forestry questions.








By FitzWeller Administrator on   11/2/2009 11:26 AM

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