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Clearcut is NOT a dirty word!


Somewhere along the way it seems that forestry professionals shied away from conducting silvicultural clearcuts in the northeast, in part, to keep environmentalists from screaming too loud. Unfortunately, trying to “fly under the radar” in this manner is akin to giving in to a child when behaving badly. In this case, the timber industry retreated and allowed a very important battle to be won by groups who are dead wrong!

I have seen thousands of acres harvested by well intended contractors, selling the “selective harvest” snake oil. In many cases, though not all, the “selection” process boils down to harvesting the most valuable timber, leaving a well distributed stand of poorly formed trees and/or undesirable species. It may in fact look like a respectable harvest to those who like things neat and tidy, but this type of disturbance is often far more harmful to the forest future than a clearcut would be. A clearcut would also be more beneficial to willife as well.

I have spent some time looking at various stages of regeneration in forests that have been clearcut in the past, including areas that I have cleared in the past twenty five years, and I like what I see. The quality of stems and species is remarkable in these stands. I know that I will not live long enough to see commercial harvesting in these stands, but in many cases, loggers and foresters should be proud to take it right to the ground and start over. Clearcut is not a dirty word. Say it loud! Say it proud! Its high time to head back into battle!!

November 8, 2015 |

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