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Types of Timber Harvests: Testimonials


At Maine Custom Woodlands, we understand that for many landowners, harvesting timber for the first time can be a scary proposition. With that in mind, we strive to educate and work to eliminate surprises. Landowners who work with us know that their harvest will be a responsible one that will meet their individual goals for the best return on their investment. Based on the goals and objectives of the landowner, coupled with the characteristics of the woodlot, our forester will determine the type of cut that best suits the situation. 


The goal of an improvement thinning is to improve the composition and condition of an existing forest stand. Undesirable species or trees in bad condition are removed in order to allow healthier trees to flourish. An improvement thinning allows for more successful, profitable harvests in the future.


A diameter limit harvest is implemented when the understory (the future forest) can no longer grow vigorously due to the larger trees blocking the sun from reaching the lower levels of the forest. A harvest such as this typically removes all trees larger than a certain diameter to allow the smaller, pole sized timber to transition into the overstory. This type of harvest leaves behind an “even-aged” looking stand of timber while allowing the landowner to capture a majority of the standing timber value. This type of harvest is commonly implemented to prep land before sale or for aesthetics.


The term “clear cut” has gotten a bad reputation over the years. However, there are instances where this type of harvest is beneficial to the forest. Clear cutting is an effective tool to utilize when an entire stand is infested with a tree pest or disease. The removal of all the infested or diseased trees allows a new generation of trees to establish.


Many tree species need a canopy (partial shade) in order to establish new seedlings. A shelterwood harvest aims to provide the right amount of shade to inhibit the growth of weeds to help establish desirable regeneration. As the understory establishes, subsequent harvests aim to allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor so the newly established generation of trees can transition into the overstory.


Similar to a shelterwood harvest, a seed tree harvest aims to strategically leave mature, mast trees to reseed a forest. This method is typically implemented in White Pine stands. Full sun, coupled with excessive ground scarification create ideal conditions for establishing White Pine. Once the stand has regenerated, the mature mast trees are left behind for wildlife or aesthetics.

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