On this property, located just outside of Floyd, the challenge was to improve an existing stand of 25-30 year old white pine which had been previously damaged by ice. The hardwood portions of the tract were sold as a clearcut, but the 6+/- acres of pine offered an opportunity to try a selective harvest. Typically, pine stands may be thinned at some point, prior to the final harvest, in order to allocate growth resources to the most desirable trees. One to two intermediate thinnings may occur, depending on the initial planting density and growth rates over time.
Not to be understated is the economic viability of a thinning; if the products to be removed have little or no value, you may find it very difficult to find a logger willing to do the work. Most often, landowners are not willing to pay for a pre-merchantable thinning, but instead prefer to wait for the stand to reach a marketable condition on its own- over time.
In this particular case, a true "thinning" was not a viable option due to the excessive amount of damaged trees present- there was no sense in leaving poorly formed trees with broken tops, when the goal of thinning is to leave only the best trees. Clearcutting was an option, but in this area we wanted to lessen the visual impact that timber harvesting would have. Therefore, only the best trees were selected to be reserved, while all others were required to be cut and removed. The result was a selective harvest (or a very, very heavy thinning) that maintained a three dimensional forest structure, preserved aesthetics, and improved the health of the exisiting stand.
White pine is highly susceptible to root compaction, and ice and wind damage- all factors which are exacerbated during and after a thinning or selective harvest. We will periodically monitor this area to assess the effectiveness of our harvest prescription.
Special thanks to: Little River Land & Timber (Buyer); Dewey Gore (Logging Contractor)