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.