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It is used most frequently in pine forests, which require full sunlight to grow, and in hardwood forests with yellow poplar, sweetgum, cherry, maple and other species that require full sunlight.Clearcuts are an efficient way to convert unhealthy stands to healthy, productive forests because they allow forest managers to control the tree species that grow on the site through natural or artificial regeneration.Many creatures also find shelter from weather and predators in the low growing grasses, bushes and briar thickets that follow this type of harvest.
These trees are selected based on their growth rate, form, seeding ability, wind resistance and future marketability.
Wildlife benefit from seed tree harvests in much the same way as they do from a clearcut harvest, except that they also reap the benefits of the seed trees themselves.
Each method has its benefits, drawbacks and conditions under which it is the most suitable way to harvest trees.
No one harvesting method is ideal for all situations.
To improve the health and productivity of the forest, forest managers may remove a portion of the trees in the early stages (10-15 years) of a growing stand of trees so there is less competition for sunlight, water and nutrients.
The forest is ‘thinned’ by taking out a certain percentage of the trees.
Shelterwood Harvest In a shelterwood cut, mature trees are removed in two or three harvests over a period of 10 to 15 years.
This method allows regeneration of medium to low shade-tolerant species because a “shelter” is left to protect them.
Thinning Harvest When trees are crowded together, they are in greater competition for sunlight, nutrients and water.
As a result, they tend to be less healthy and to grow less vigorously.