To Sell or Not to Sell
being harvested. Cutting down trees is a difficult and dangerous job. You should expect a certain amount of damage from falling trees or by bumping trees as logs are dragged from the woods. While this is inevitable and unavoidable, this can and should be minimized by careful logging techniques. A good rule of thumb is that no more than 10 percent of your leave trees should be damaged. The best way to tell if logging is being done right is to visit the woods often during logging, look for excessive damage and communicate with the logger about any concerns you have.
Timber harvesting is not over when the last log leaves the woods, or at least it shouldn’t be. The point of doing any sort of forest management (whether it is harvesting, doing timber stand improvement, woodland prescribed burning or even replanting) is to improve habitat and tre quality for the rest of that forest’s life. One way to protect the quality of the woods is to make sure the soils stay in the forest where they can continue to support the growth of trees, plants and shrubs. After logging is finished, the trails and landings necessary for getting the trees out of the woods may need some help healing to keep them from becoming a permanent scar on the land. Some may be just fine to leave to heal on their own, while others may need best management practices implemented to prevent erosion. This can include installing water bars, culverts or other water diversion structures to divert water off the trucks trails and landings. You could also spread wheat, clover or other native herbaceous plant seed so that the bare dirt can find some cover from direct rain and so there will be some roots to hold the soil in place.
Also look at what has been left to grow in the forest to become the next stand of trees that will dominate the woods. Sometimes harvesting has only removed a portion of the trees that need to come out, and there still are unhealthy, poor quality trees left standing. If too many of these are left, you will have a forest filled with crooked and dying trees. It may become necessary to cut out the remaining poor trees as part of a timber stand improvement. Even though a harvest may look messy for a while, if you leave good quality trees and good soil for them to grow in, you will set the stage for a thriving future generation of trees that will be faster growing, more disease and insect resistant, better for wildlife and more valuable in the future.
Removing trees from the forest is a simple process as old as the settlement of Missouri itself. However, it can be very overwhelming because of the lasting impacts the harvest can have on the land.
For More Information
Landowners who have more questions can contact the Department of Conservation for assistance or request a free packet on timber sales by calling 888-564-7483 or visiting callb4ucut.com. A Missouri consulting forester can be found at missouriforesters.com.