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Sustainable Timber Harvesting
Table of Contents

Welcome to the Visual Guide to Timber Harvesting. This module is intended for typical landowners that may be considering a timber harvest on their property. As you work through this module, you will be introduced to several forest harvesting practices, which may or may not be familiar to you. The purpose of this module is to describe the benefits and drawbacks of these harvesting practices and allow you to investigate the types of trees which are cut in each. Ultimately, this may help you to understand the harvest type which might be most appropriate for your property, and to identify harvesting practices which are not in the best interest of the forest.

The Case for Management
Land Objectives
Midrotation Cuts
   Crop Tree Release
Regeneration Harvests
   Reserve Shelterwood
   Diameter Limit
   Silvicultural Clearcut
   Pine Plantations

The format of the Visual Guide learning module allows you to examine two basic types of timber harvests, mid-rotation harvests and regeneration harvests. In each of these sections the general purpose of that type of timber harvest will be described, and you will be shown an interactive panoramic photograph of a forest. In this photograph, you can zoom in and out and pan around 360 degrees. Also, by clicking with your mouse on some of the trees in the photograph, you will see a description of that tree´s species, size, and timber volume. Selecting the "Cut It" link below the panorama will take you to a panoramic photo of exactly the same location after the timber harvest has occurred. Again, you can pan around and click on standing trees (if there are any) or on stumps to see what trees were cut.

After working through this module, you should have an understanding of how different types of forest harvests impact the land, both in terms of the number of trees which may be removed as well as the types of trees which should be cut. These photographs were all taken in western Virginia. Other forest types may look somewhat different, but the visual impact of each regeneration method will be similar.

To get started with a general discussion on sustainable timber harvesting click the forward arrow () at the top of the page. Please be patient. The panoramas may take some time to load, but it will be worth the wait.


About the Authors

VT Forestry Department