Our process: utilizing positive impact forestry to mitigate forest threats
Our methods emphasize sound ecological management over other profit and production driven forest management approaches. Timber management that has a positive impact means harvesting in a way that sustains or improves all of the ecological benefits a forest should provide, along with the long term timber prospects of the forest. Much of our forestland has been clear-cut or high-graded in the past (where the best trees are cut and less healthy trees remain). This has left much of the forest lacking in species diversity, in structural diversity, and of diminished health.
Many formerly species rich productive woodlands in the Appalachians that were clear-cut have regrown as near monocultures of yellow poplar trees. Crown thinning and group selection harvests of yellow poplars can regenerate and increase the proportion of other species such as white ash, red oak, black cherry and yellow birch.
Even-aged forests, consisting of trees of generally the same size that regenerated from clear-cuts dominate much of the region. Group selection harvests can mimic natural process and accelerate forest succession. This creates structural diversity with trees of multiple ages and sizes, thereby increasing habitat and species diversity, as well as forest resilience.
Diversity is the key to forest health. Timber management can foster increasing species diversity, structural diversity, and diversity of tree ages and sizes. This increases overall ecological function of a forest, its ability to provide clean water, carbon sequestration, and habitats for other wildlife, plant, and fungal species. This improved diversity and ecological health increases a forest’s ability to sustain itself from threats such as invasive insects and plants, and climate change.