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Seed Tree Cutting

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Forestry Processes

Seed tree cutting is a silviculture system that involves removing most trees from a stand and leaving only a few trees behind to produce seed for regeneration of an even-aged forest. This method is used for regenerating trees that grow well in direct sunlight such as pine trees.[1]

[edit] Process

Seed tree cutting can be viewed as either a variation of clearcutting or selective cutting since the majority of trees are cleared from a stand with a few select ones remaining as seed trees. The trees left behind in the stand for regeneration usually number no less than five.[2] Per acre (0.4 ha), the number of trees to be used as seed trees may vary between two to 10. Site preparation is also usually carried out to remove logging debris and competing trees and vegetation before a new tree stand can be established.[3]

The mature and economically viable trees are then removed from within a stand, with only a few seed trees remaining after harvest. The criteria for choosing a seed tree is based on the following characteristics of the tree:

  • Straight trunk
  • Windfirmness
  • Well-shaped tree with a healthy crown
  • High rate of seed production ability based on number of cones
  • Height in comparison to adjacent trees
  • Rate of tree growth
  • Mortality rate of tree
  • No evidence of disease of insect infestation

One of the drawbacks of the seed tree method is leaving behind an insufficient number of trees to actively promote natural regeneration. Site preparation, thinning, and maintenance are typically ongoing processes to ensure regeneration of a new even-aged tree stand gets well established. Sometimes natural regeneration may even be supplemented with manual tree planting. Since seed trees on a stand are generally more exposed after harvesting, they become more susceptible to damage from wind, storms, disease, insect infestation, and nearby logging operations.[4] Seed tree cutting, however, is viewed as a sustainable forestry practice. Sometimes seed trees are not removed and eventually become downed logs or snags, creating a natural habitat for birds and other wildlife. When the seed trees are removed, the new stand will closely resemble a regenerated clear-cut block.[5]

[edit] References

  1. http://www/borealforest.org/world/innova/silviculture.htm
  2. http://www.ncforestry.org/docs/Mgmt/harvesting.htm
  3. http://www/borealforest.org/world/innova/silviculture.htm
  4. http://ceres.ca.gov/foreststeward/html/silviculture.html
  5. http://ceres.ca.gov/foreststeward/html/silviculture.html