DEEP: How Much of the Forest is Cut

How Much of the Forest is Harvested?

Within each State Forest there are some areas that will never be harvested because of factors such as inaccessibility, severe topographic considerations, or unique plant/animal communities. Approximately one percent of areas being managed on an even-aged system are regenerated each year. Forest stands that are being thinned or being managed on an uneven-aged system may only have some harvesting done every 25 years or so.

Are Trees Cut for the Money?

The DEEP Division of Forestryís mission is to promote a healthy and diverse forest, not to cut trees to obtain the most money. In fact, many times the State absorbs the cost of cutting hundreds of small trees that have no value in order to allow more sunlight to reach the ground for seed germination or to achieve a better distribution of tree sizes. In general, DEEP foresters will select the least healthy and poorer quality trees for harvesting first, leaving the better quality trees to grow.

Fortunately, societyís huge demand for wood products makes the timber harvested from the State Forests valuable. Because timber can be sold, harvesting is a viable management tool available to our foresters as they strive to achieve the goal of a healthier forest. Certified Forest Practitioners bid on the right to cut trees that have been designated for harvest by a DEEP Forester. Harvesters are required to comply with standards that minimize adverse environmental impacts, promote safety and protect Connecticut's woodlands.

What About the "Mess"?

Wood left on the ground after a harvest is unsightly, but it is very valuable to small animals because it provides cover for them from predators and food for insects that are fed upon by other animals. A tangle of topwood left behind may also protect new tree seedlings from damage from deer browsing while returning nutrients to the forest soil.

What About Replanting?

Remember how the forest rebounded after the late 1800s? Connecticut is blessed in that, in most places, we would have a hard time if we tried NOT to grow trees. Most harvests on State Forests are designed to take advantage of the great abundance of naturally occurring seed and the aggressive capacity of the forest to rapidly regenerate on its own. Itís a good thing the forest is so aggressive, because planting seedlings is not usually successful due to heavy browsing by deer and competition from naturally occurring seedlings and stump sprouts. Planting can be useful if there is no desirable seed source on site, but planting is done only on a limited basis.

{Naturally occurring tulip poplar and red oak seedlings in an opening after a harvest}
Naturally occurring tulip poplar and red oak seedlings vigorously invade an opening in the forest after a harvest.


Content last updated October 23, 2013