We design and facilitate timber harvests that improve forest health, enhance wildlife habitat, and maintain visual quality. To insure that our timber harvests are done the right way, we partner with professional logging contractors who share our vision; the result is minimal impact with maximum returns.
Whenever possible, we prefer to implement selective timber harvests. Though the term “selective” can be broadly defined, it is typically meant to encompass harvest methods that promote un-even aged forests with adequate stocking levels of desirable species. This is accomplished by removing mature and over-mature trees, along with diseased and stressed trees, and by manipulating the species composition. The harvest design is tailored to meet the landowner’s objectives, which may include some or all of the following: timber production, wildlife management, water quality, hunting & recreation, aesthetics, real estate improvement, or general forest health. To view some of our selective harvests, please visit our Projects page.
Sometimes, clearcutting is the most appropriate method of regenerating a forest stand, and may also be the best means of meeting short-term revenue goals. It is important to understand that not all clearcuts are the same. An economical clearcut refers to the timber buyer’s (be it a sawmill or logger) best economy, whereby timber may be sold on a clearcut basis but only the highest value trees are removed- leaving a forest stand comprised of low-value trees, most of which were likely damaged during the harvesting process. Though this may result in maximum revenue being attained now, it greatly devalues the forest over the long term. The preferable outcome is a silvicultural clearcut, where all merchantable trees are felled and removed- thus leveling the playing field and allowing the desirable species a better chance to compete as the stand regenerates. A serious disadvantage to clearcutting, and perhaps the primary reason why landowners scorn this method, is the negative impact to aesthetics.
Many landowners have also heard about diameter-limit harvests, which involve cutting all trees measuring above a pre-set diameter. Diameter limits should be set according to the current composition of the stand, and the desired results post-harvest. They are a means of maintaining a three-dimensional aspect to the forestland, while removing desirable timber volume and value. Many foresters argue that a diameter-limit harvest is synonymous with high-grading, in which the highest value trees are removed and the least desirable remain. This happens when primarily the shade-tolerant species, suppressed in the understory, are retained after the harvest. This practice can greatly devalue a forest stand and lower its timber production potential over the next several rotations. Diameter-limit harvests are size-specific, and are not technically biased by species. They can, however, mimic a high-grade if exercised incorrectly or if the initial stand requirements were not present. Diameter limit harvests are only appropriate on a small minority of tracts, so beware this method without proper justification.
In deciding which harvest method is best for your forestland, you must understand what you have now, and how the application of a particular approach will accomplish both your immediate needs and your long-term goals.
For some additional reading on the underlying thought process that guides the GreenWoods approach to designing and managing timber harvests, please visit this page to read an article by Matt Pace that was first published online at www.lcfarticles.com and was later heavily quoted in an article that appeared in the New River Valley magazine.