Forester-think: a brief primer

porcupine in hemlock

BIOLOGICAL MATURITY: In stand management, the age at which trees or stands have peaked in growth rate and are determined to be merchantable.


FOREST INVENTORY: A survey of a forest area to determine such data as area condition, timber volume and species, for specific purposes such as planning, purchases, evaluation, management or harvesting.

black walnut fence

LAND RECLAMATION: Bringing the land, damaged from natural or human causes, back into use for growing trees or agricultural crops.

puffballs on stump

OLD-GROWTH: Trees that have been growing for such a long time that net growth or value is often declining.

bur oak face

OVERMATURE: The stage at which trees exhibit a decline in growth rate, vigor, and soundness as a result of old age.

box turtle 1

REGENERATION CUT: A timber harvest designed to promote natural establishment of trees.

old-growth tulip poplars

SALVAGE CUT: The harvesting of dead or damaged trees or of trees in danger of being killed by insects, disease, flooding, or other factors in order to capture their economic value before they decay.

scarab beetle larva

STOCKING: The number and density of trees in a forest stand. Stands are often classified as understocked, well-stocked or overstocked.

pinesaps (pollinated)

STUMPAGE: Value of timber as it stands uncut in the woods.
Standing timber itself.

black and white warbler

TIMBER STAND IMPROVEMENT (TSI) – Improving the quality of a forest stand by removing or deadening undesirable species to achieve desired stocking and species composition. TSI practices include applying herbicides, burning, girdling, or cutting.

yellow birch roots 1

WORKING FOREST: Land used primarily for forestry purposes, but also available for recreation, usually where both managed land and land not presently being managed is present.

Cicindela ancocisconensis, the Appalachian tiger beetle

WOLF TREE: A tree with large branches and a spreading crown occupying more space in the forest than its economic value justifies. Wolf trees may have wildlife or esthetic value.


Be sure to click on the photos for identification and additional information.

9 Replies to “Forester-think: a brief primer”

  1. Thanks for the comments, y’all. I added a little more text to some of the Flickr pages this morning, too – I was thinking of submitting this to the new Oekologie blog carnival (see two posts back).

  2. Must. Have. More. Wolf. Trees.

    This was a chilling and wonderful post (of course tracked back to it through Oekologie.)

    To wander through woods and see implicit price tags on every bit of growth…dang.

    I understand that people need a source of income to live, but I assume one becomes a forester because of a desire to stay close to backcountry. I wonder what it does to those people when they’re schooled to see everything they love as money-to-come, and that money-to-come for a corporate office.

  3. Lori, I think you’re right about why most foresters choose their profession. And there is of course a real need for the art of forestry (I don’t believe it’s a science, any more than anthropology is). Unfortunately capitalism and government subsidies mess everything up.

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