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Humans have always needed products from the forest, and, overtime, that demand has increased with the standard of living to which we have become accustomed.  Timber harvesting is a vital tool in renewing or enhancing and improving the diversity and beauty of the forest while providing benefits to society.  In the process of cutting trees for wood products, we modify wildlife habitat and alter natural systems.

In any discussion of forestry practice, of which timber harvesting is just one, it is useful to define a "stand" and make the distinction between a stand and a forest.  A stand is an area of forest with similar species, composition, age, and site conditions.  A stand can be pure (at least 90 percent of the dominant trees are of one species) or mixed.  A pure, even-aged stand has the simplest structure, while a mixed, uneven-aged stand has the most complex.

Although timber harvesting accounts for only a small portion of our working forests' life cycles, how and when timber is harvested plays a major role in determining the character of the forest far into the future.  Experience has indicated that disturbance may contribute to higher diversity.  We know that timber harvesting can be pivitol for forest renewal and forest improvement in areas that previously have been misused.

Timber harvesting can play an important role in forest management regardless of the owner's objectives.  Properly planned timber harvesting promotes the growth of desirable trees and other plants, stimulates regeneration, and alters wildlife habitat to favor certain species.  Timber harvesting also can temporarily alter the aesthetic or recreational value of the forest.  Timber harvesting should be done only when there are benefits to be gained, and it should always be done n a way that is intended to improve or renew a forest.  However, it should not be a foregone conclusion that timber harvesting will be a part of every landowner's mamagement plan.  When harvesting is incorporated into management plans, it should be done to help landowners meet their objectives, whatever they might be.

Warren County Soil Conservation District
224 West Stiger Street, Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Phone:  908-852-2579     Fax:  908-852-2284    

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