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Commercial Thinning

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(Redirected from Commerical thinning)
Forestry Processes

Commercial thinning is the partial cut of an immature forest stand where the timber harvested is of merchantable size and has commercial value.

[edit] Process

Commercial thinning is carried out in a forest stand not as a method of regeneration but as an interim harvest before a final harvest is executed. In British Columbia, commercial thinning is actually considered part of a clearcut silvicultural system.[1] As a process, it is typically applied to even-aged stands and similar to pre-commercial thinning, the interim harvesting of the most commercially valuable trees in a stand improves the growth rate, quality, and health of residual trees.[2] Thinning provides an opportunity for the stems of residual trees to grow at a faster rate and reach a merchantable size sooner.[3] In this way, applying commercial thinning to a forest crop early on yields an early return on investment and increases the overall value of the stand.[4] It can also serve to alleviate timber supply shortfalls as wood flow becomes more flexible.[5] While in the past commercial thinning was used to capture tree morality, improve crop tree survival, and gain an early return on investment, it is now being used more to stimulate the rapid growth of the more dominant trees in a stand.[6] Some of the non-timber values associated with commercial thinning also include maintaining and enhancing wildlife habitat and reducing the occurrence of disease infestation and wildfire.

[edit] Types

Row thinning is used in harvesting trees on plantations that have been planted in rows by removing every third, fourth, or fifth row. This type of thinning is the quickest method to reduce the number of stems per acre (0.4 ha).

Strip thinning is used in natural stands where rows are not evident or on tree plantations where thinning does not follow established rows. All trees within a certain width are removed and should follow the natural contour of the land.

Selective thinning involves providing the best crop trees in a stand with an opportunity to grow by removing weaker competing trees. While selective thinning can optimize spacing and enhances tree growth, there is a risk of residual tree damage that can sometimes offset any benefits. It also requires a lot of planning and management to be executed properly.[7]

[edit] References

  1. Commercial Thinning. BC Ministry of Forests and Range. 2008-10-28.
  2. Commercial Thinning. BC Ministry of Forests and Range. 2008-10-28.
  3. Commercial Thinning Plan. The Forestry Research Partnership. 2008-10-28.
  4. Comparison of Skyline Harvesting Costs for Alternative Commercial Thinning Prescriptions. Journal of Forest Engineering. 2008-10-28.
  5. Commercial Thinning. BC Ministry of Forests and Range. 2008-10-28.
  6. A Comparison of Skyline Harvesting Costs for Alternative Commercial Thinning Prescriptions. 2008-10-28.
  7. Commercial Thinning. Warnell School of Forestry Resources. 2008-10-28.