Silviculture is the science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health, and quality of forests to meet diverse needs and values of landowners, industry and cultures. Forest management is really a complex art that is often misunderstood by today’s urbanized population which may not appreciate the benefits of forest regeneration practices, even when they are based on sustainable principles.
Management Mimics Nature1
Hardwood forestry is different from softwood (pine, larch, fir) plantations in that it seldom employs tree planting or fertilizers in regeneration plans because such investments will not be realized for a century or more. Instead, hardwood operations rely on four common “regeneration systems” to manage forests and harvest timber in a responsible way.
Clearcutting is unattractive but can be a biologically appropriate method of regenerating a stand of trees provided there is ample undergrowth present, a sufficient seed source nearby to reestablish the stand or where replanting will take place. Forest preservationists argue that clearcutting is only utilized by timber companies because it is easy and cheap.
The reality is that clearcutting is the most effective way to regenerate shade-intolerant species like Douglas Fir, Aspen, Paper Birch, Cherry and Yellow Poplar by exposing them to more natural sunlight. When practiced properly with limited trips into the forest, the soil is preserved and erosion is prevented. Under responsible forestry guidelines, clearcutting is limited to less than 40 acres and openings must be surrounded by wildlife corridors, streamside management zones, or other forest buffers to minimize visual disturbance.Read More