Multiple Harvest Prescriptions 2009

his harvest began in February 2009 and was completed in June 2009. This was an exciting project because it involved a variety of timber types (pure poplar stands, planted white pine, and mixed hardwoods) on a beautiful property in Franklin County, Virginia, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The landowners have held this land for over two decades, and felt it was time to implement some sound forest management. They were thinking along the right lines- after seeing some of the cut stumps it was clear that much of this timber was in decline.

The majority of this tract was selectively harvested, but certain areas were cut more aggressively than the rest. About 15 acres of over-mature yellow poplar, in a remote section of the property, were essentially clearcut as that was the best method to regenerate a new, well-stocked stand of high-quality poplar trees. A smaller section of “old field” area that was dominated by Virginia pine (aka “bull pine”) was cleared in order to make way for an abundance of poplar saplings that were being suppressed by the pine overstory. However, most of the acreage was cut in a manner that will allow another harvest to occur in approximately twenty years; but in the meantime leaving a healthier, more vigorous timber stand and greatly improving the wildlife habitat.

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

  • Looking at the timber from a single poplar tree prior to the harvest.
  • View from the same poplar tree immediately after the area was cut.
  • Poplar stand prior to the harvest. Many of these trees had been damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. This selective harvest focused on removing damaged, poor-quality trees.
  • Here we wanted to cut out the low quality Virginia pines to make room for the emerging poplar and mixed hardwoods in the understory.
  • Mature stand of hardwood and white pine prior to the harvest.
  • Mixed hardwood stand after the selective harvest.
  • Mixed hardwood stand five months after harvest completion (October 2009).
  • Poplar stand five months after harvest completion (October 2009).
  • Dragging a poplar and cherry out of the woods. The tree in the foreground is marked to cut.
  • We found that many of the oaks were well past their prime.
  • More evidence that some of the timber was past its prime and overdue for harvesting.
  • On the other hand, certain areas contained high-quality timber at its prime.
  • First load of sawtimber to leave the property.