Forest Management for Wildlife Habitat

This harvest began in June 2009. A significant amount of road building and improvement was required in order to reach this timber, but it was justified by the size and quality of the trees. Though access costs are absorbed by landowners either directly out-of-pocket or by adjusted logging rates, new roads are a capital improvement and enhance recreational opportunities. They can also act as firebreaks, and serve as access routes for woodland fire fighters.

For this project, the landowner was primarily interested in wildlife habitat improvement. Additionally, he knew that much of the timber was over-mature and in need of attention. Though some of the timber was of very good quality, certain areas contained many trees with hidden defects- as seen in the pictures below. People often think that bigger trees make better timber, but due to the manner in which they decline this is not always the case. Read a brief description of biological maturity and economic maturity as these concepts relate to forest stands.

The vast majority of this timber was selectively harvested. Some of the acreage was cut more aggressively, while other areas were left virtually untouched. Visual buffers were maintained along the access road wherever possible in order to minimize the impact of the harvest. In one section, a 5-acre stand of yellow poplar was clearcut. This area adjoins a large food plot, and the thick regeneration will create excellent wildlife cover for many years. Because pure poplar stands regenerate very well after a clearcut harvest, it made sense to employ that harvest technique here. As an added bonus, an incredible north-east view was opened up.

Click on any of the images below to view larger photos and a slideshow.