If the idea of cutting down trees to improve the health of forests seems like an oxymoron, this article is for you.
We get it. From the outside looking in, seeing forests trimmed or even clear-cut can conjure up scenes of a war zone. Trees and limbs everywhere, the tracks of heavy foresting equipment carving deep muddy grooves in the earth. It may not be pretty, but when done right, it’s actually a big investment in the future of that very forest.
Sustainable harvesting practices are designed to ensure a careful, measured balance between what’s taken from the forest and what is left to carry nature forward. For many of our clients, we don’t just share what we measure and mark; it’s equally important to us that the landowners we work with understand why some trees aren’t harvested. These are the trees with potential, with room to grow, and will be the trees we may take the next time around.
There are a number of factors that influence the viability of planning a forest. At its heart, however, is a single overarching idea: regeneration. The goal is always focused on what we’ll see next, even if next is ten, fifteen, twenty, even fifty years away. What shapes the process can be influenced by factors like the health of the forest, diameters, and sizes of specific trees, spacing and canopy cover, forest floor composition, wildlife, the price of various species, and the wishes and vision of the landowner. Taken together, these considerations create a sort of puzzle that an experienced forester can then make whole.
If we could cement anything in the minds of landowners, it’s that what matters most during a timber harvest isn’t what is taken out of the forest, but what is left. The goal is to leave the remaining trees healthy, young, and growing. When more older trees are taken, it actually allows for the planting of a fresh stand that may be better planned and more valuable in the longer term.
At the end of the day, every single forest has its own unique character, charm, and personality. By taking a close look and finding the best balance, we ensure that we leave the forest with a brighter future and the landowner with something valuable growing for the next time around.
Let’s get started. Contact us today to schedule your next harvest.