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Forestry 101

“Clearcutting” forests has become a no-no idea, a bad word with most people. Whether it was environmental advocates or ripped off landowners who said it was wrong, it’s not clear.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. “Select cut” forestry is usually the worst thing you can do, because it takes the best and leaves the rest. Worst-first is the by-line of sound forestry. Clearcutting removes a great deal of the forest canopy so that other trees and plants may grow.

It’s true that I have seen failed clearcutting, but out west, where the thin soils, steep slopes, and dry conditions leave forests at risk from too much canopy removal. Those conditions rarely apply to the northeast or the south.

Recently I contracted Lyme Disease, for the third or fourth time. It’s my guess that ticks are growing in number and area because forest fires have been artificially suppressed for so long. Short of controlled burns, clearcutting is as close as we can get to mimicking the cleansing effect of a forest fire.

If you have forest land and you want to manage the timber, don’t be afraid to clearcut it, if the trees there support that management tool.

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