Increasing the productivity of woodlands
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The following forestry practices are recommended in a 1923 agriculture textbook. They still seem valid today, though I've added a few notes.
1. Only the ripe [mature] trees should be selected when cutting the crops.
2. Injury to small seedlings and saplings should be avoided.
3. Diseased and misshapen trees should be removed and used either for the market or at home. [NOTE: You should ask your state forester or county extension agent how best to remove a diseased tree. Felling the tree may puff disease organisms into the air and spread the problem.]
4. The inferior trees should be removed if the space is needed for better ones. [NOTE: Avoid monoculture.]
5. A few large trees should be left to reseed the woodland.
6. Pasturing with animals that will injure the young seedlings should not be permitted.
7. Fires should be excluded and notices calling attention to fire damage to forest growth should be posted. [NOTE: I really don't know what to say about this. Fire has a role in forest ecosystems, and foresters frequently do "controlled burns." On the other hand, do you really want to have a fire in your woodlot? If you do decide to introduce fire, get some advice!]
8. The stand should be thinned so as to secure the best growth, but heavy thinning is not desirable.
9. Sprouts from stumps form stands called coppice. These should also be thinned, leaving the best sprouts.
10. Trees damaged by storm should be removed before they are attacked by insects and disease, which would spread to others.
11. Brush and waste after all cuttings should be piled and burned. [NOTE: It would be a good idea to check local burn laws before lighting up the pile.]
Source: From the chapter titled "Woodland Projects" (p.322) in The New Agriculture for High Schools by Kary C. Davis, Ph.D. Published in 1923 by J.P. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.
Related post: When logging, get some guidelines!