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The term "intensive management" as applied to forestry requires explanation.  The cardinal rule of forestry is to create ideal growth environments for different kinds of trees so that each will grow to its full capacity.  Some species will not grow in soils and climates where others thrive.  The forester knows what grows best and where.  Whether he's starting from scratch in an area with few or no trees, or taking over an unmanaged forest, he must make several key decisions.

First he must determine how each parcel of land in his area of responsibility can best be used. Options include commercial timber growth, recreation, wildlife improvement of watershed management, or for a combination of purposes.  Second, he must decide what tree species or combination of species will grow best under conditions he finds or can create.  Third, he must determine what management technique can best achieve the objectives he has selected.

Tree harvesting is an essential forest management tool -- whether or not an area is used for commercial timber production.  As a new stand of trees grow, periodic thinnings are performed.  This involves the removal of defective or less promising trees to give the more superior trees sufficient room and sunlight for maximum growth.  Material removed in thinning can be used as pulp for paper production or as small sawlogs for board and dimension lumber.

There are a number of different harvesting techniques.  The choice is strongly influenced by what the forester determines will produce the best results from the standpoint of regeneration.  Trees such as southern pine, black walnut, yellow poplar, cherry, some oaks and other species grow best with full exposure to the sun.  To provide the essential sunlight, foresters sometimes recommend even-aged management as the most appropriate harvesting technique.

With this method, all trees are removed within a limited area of the forest.  Regeneration is swift under the stimulus of the sun, and in a comparatively short period of time the area is reinvested with trees which are frequently superior to their predecessors. Even-aged management is a human adaptation of nature's original blueprint for forest regeneration.  The only difference is that human clearcuts are considerably less drastic than nature's wildfires and not wasteful.

The selection method is another extensively used harvesting technique, which involves the removal of specified individuals or small groups of trees.  This is a frequent choice in the case of shade-tolerant species where there is no danger of desirable species being crowded out by their natural habitats due to lack of sunshine.

Of course, no site is attractive in the immediate wake of logging---regardless of the method of harvest.  But, aesthetic impact can be minimized by limiting the area of harvest, contouring it to blend with the surrounding landscape, removing debris, and prompt regeneration.  Aerial logging systems using helicopters and balloons -- while still in developmental stages -- further minimizing the visual eyesores of logging.  Other logging methods such as cable logging and total tree utilization are continuously improving the visual aesthetics of harvesting aftermath.

U.S. Forests Appalachian Forest Tree Growth Forest Quantity U.S. Forestry Begin Forest Practices The Future

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  Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc., P.O. Box 427, High Point, NC 27272 | Tel. (336) 885-8315