Timber stand improvement
This web article explains
the best management practices related to tree removal intended
to improve the quality of remaining trees in a forest.
stand improvement" and "timber harvesting" are
two different forest management activities. In comparison to gardening,
timber stand improvement is like weeding and pruning away
unwanted vegetation to let vegetables or flowers flourish, whereas
timber harvesting is more like the late season gathering
of mature produce.
Timber stand improvement,
usually abbreviated "TSI," is a periodic cutting made
in an immature stand of trees to stimulate the growth of the trees
that remain. It is a challenging, yet rewarding activity for active
forest owners. The three standard treatments in TSI are
Juvenile tree release
In many hardwood forests,
it is appropriate to combine two or all three of these treatments.
practices for timber stand improvement (or BMPs for TSI)
Find out if your
woodlot is appropriate for TSI.
Because TSI implies
that your woodlot is destined to produce merchantable timber,
it will not apply to all forestland. TSI may not be feasible when
a stand of trees is too young. In this case, superior trees are
not old enough to express their genetic qualities. In the same
way, TSI is not feasible if the stand already contains mostly
mature sawtimber. Forests dominated by trees with poorly formed
stems will be difficult to improve. Finally, stands containing
nonmerchantable species like aspen, hornbeam, beech, cottonwood,
willow, or poplar will not be improved with TSI.
a professional forester to prescribe a TSI treatment.
The best way to determine if a woodlot is ready for TSI is to
have a professional forester assess the stand, noting species,
size, and density. Contact a DEC forester or hire a reputable
consulting forester to cruise the woodlot. They will provide you
with a written description of the status of the forest, subdivided
where necessary into separate stands. Ask whether and what kinds
of TSI work would be appropriate. Some forest owners should accompany
the forester back into the woodlot for a more detailed explanation
of releasing, thinning, pruning, and cull removals.
Plan for good utilization
of TSI removals.
Forest owners can make very good use of the trees removed during
TSI. Before the trees are cut, consider whether the removal will
provide a barrier for deer, a source of quality firewood, a base
for forest farming, or simply decompose in the woodlot, returning
the nutrients to the forest soil. Sometimes the trees can be stockpiled
for use in erosion control projects in other areas of a large