Do I need to have a Clear Cut on my property? It Depends...
I often hear this from clients in the MFL program...
“I have been told that I will need to have a Clear Cut on my property, is there an alternative way to manage my forest?”
- It depends on what type of trees are in your forest
- What your goals are for your forest health.
- What types and quantities of Wildlife you want to attract.
- What type of income you would like to earn.
Some types of trees require total sunlight to reproduce and grow such as Aspen, White Birch, Cottonwood, Red Pine, Jack Pine, Spruce, and Oak.
If your goals for your forest involve keeping the above species then a clear cut may be your best option in many situations.
If your goals involve most species of Wildlife, then a clear cut may be your best option as well since the quantity and quality of wildlife food expands exponentially with the new growth that follows a clearcut.
You could perform a smaller less noticeable version of a clear cut known as a shelter wood thinning. A shelter wood involves small patches of cuttings conducted in two to three cutting cycles spread over a ten to fifteen year period. And will often look like camouflage or stripes when viewed from an aerial photo.
You could convert your forest to a more shade tolerant forest type such as White Pine, Maple, Yellow Birch, Hemlock, Basswood, Northern Hardwoods and Central Hardwoods. These specie groups are generally less profitable and less desirable to most wildlife species but they are much more aesthetic in the long term since they can be managed via thinnings rather than via creation of forest openings like the more sun loving specie groups.
So in the end whether you will need a Clear Cut will largely depend on what your goals are for aesthetics, wildlife, and income.