This web article explains
how forest owners can encourage re-growth of the forest through
natural and human-planted reforestation.
Improving the success of reforestation and regeneration
have a natural capacity to grow replacement trees as older ones
die off or are harvested. The process of reforestation encourages
healthy young trees to grow in previously forested areas. Whether
the new trees come about naturally or are planted by humans, there
are some important factors to consider. The natural productivity
of a forest varies greatly, depending on soil, local climate,
topography, and prior harvest history.
Before ordering hundreds
of seedlings to plant or assuming that a woodlot is primed for
reproduction, work on the following best management practices
Set goals for reforestation.
A forest planting should be based on long-term thinking. The trees
planted in a field or forest today will grow slowly for decades.
Set goals for a reforestation project like erosion control, establishing
merchantable species, improving wildlife habitat, or restoring
a native plant community.
about the site intended for reforestation.
Inspect the site on foot, noting whether it slopes to the north,
south, or other direction. Read a soil survey to learn about the
soil capacity. Learn what species of trees are already growing
there and what trees can grow in similar areas. Take note of possibly
competing vegetation, like grass and weeds. These plants can either
stifle or stimulate the growth of new seedlings. Finally, look
for evidence of deer overpopulation. If deer are a problem, special
measures will need to be taken to protect seedlings from becoming
seed sources and natural regeneration.
Larger trees in a woodlot provide the seeds for forest regeneration.
Assess how many, how large, and what species of trees are providing
seed to a forested area. Look for evidence of root sprouting and
stump sprouting. If this natural regeneration meets the woodlot
goals, less supplemental planting will be necessary. Consider
a silvicultural treatment, like a seed tree cut or clear cut,
to improve regeneration.
Ferns and grasses tend to proliferate in some New York forests.
This is the result of a variety of factors, including the selective
browsing by deer, past harvest history, and soil conditions. Unfortunately,
forests covered with grasses and ferns have a difficult time regenerating
because very little sunlight reaches the soil where seeds lie.
Consult with a forest botany specialist to make a determination
if there is excess competing vegetation in your woodlot.
forests from deer and other damaging wildlife.
tail deer are overpopulated in many areas of Western and Central
New York. They are browsing away too many seedlings and tree sprouts
to allow forests to reproduce naturally. All reforestation efforts
should take into account possible damage from deer. Leave tree
tops in the woods to deter deer browsing. Use tree guards, fell
cull trees, or fence in sections of forests where early regeneration
is taking place.
Use a forest stewardship
plan to guide reforestation decisions.
Because reforestation is a long-term effort, a written plan will
help guide the process, even as the property is transferred from
owner to owner. In the lifetime of a typical tree, more than five
landowners will have legal possession. For that reason, a reforestation
plan helps maintain a consistent process toward an important goal
- healthy forests.
Obtain a forest
inventory through professional forester.
Many woodlot owners are unsure of which trees are "keepers"
and which trees should be removed. Professional foresters, whether
part of a public agency or as part of a reputable consulting business,
can assess forest conditions and provide reforestation and regeneration