In many Pacific Northwest forests, previous managers have removed the very features that gave the forests their structural complexity, such as big trees, large snags, down logs, and multi-layered canopy, and then planted seedlings at dense spacing. These crowded, overstocked stands often have diminished tree growth, poor wildlife habitat, low understory diversity, and increased wildfire risk. These stands can be enhanced by thinning out suppressed trees to give the remaining trees the light and space they need to thrive, as well as activate understory diversity, increase habitat potential, improve fire resilience, and generate a modest return. Whether you’re interested in using a chainsaw to take out a few trees or complete a full-blown commercial thinning, these guidance documents can help you prepare for harvest, complete an informed harvest operation, and accelerate the forest’s return to improved ecological integrity after harvest.

Before Harvest

During Harvest

After Harvest

 

Photo: Matt Freeman-Gleason