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Group Selection Cutting for the Landowner — Education is the Key. Roger Monthey USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.

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group selection cutting for the landowner education is the key
Group Selection Cutting for the Landowner —Education is the Key

Roger Monthey

USDA Forest Service

Northeastern Area

State and Private Forestry

slide2

Gordon Moore, District Forester for the Maine Forest Service, talks to landowners and foresters. Note the hazard tree in the background, which will be removed as a demonstration of one method to remove the tree safely.

why group selection cutting
According to Lamson and Leak (2000)*:

Group selection cutting closely mimics natural, small-scale disturbances in eastern forests

Most landowners won’t allow clearcutting because of its effect on esthetics, but cutting small groups of trees can improve esthetics and diversify a solid landscape

3) Group selection is an uneven-aged regeneration system that produces a sustainable income every 15–20 years

Why group selection cutting?

* Lamson and Leak. 2000. Guidelines for applying group selection harvesting. NA–TP–02–00. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.

why group selection cutting cont
Light cutting, such as single tree selection, regenerates shade-tolerant species such as beech and sugar maple

Regeneration following clearcutting is composed of predominately shade-intolerant species such as paper birch and aspen

Moderate cutting, such as group selection cuts, can favor intermediately shade tolerant species such as yellow birch, red oak, and white ash

By varying the group size, the amount of light reaching the forest floor is increased or decreased, which influences which species successfully regenerate

Why group selection cutting? (cont.)
group selection cutting promotes development of intermediately tolerant tree regeneration
Group Selection Cutting Promotes Development of Intermediately Tolerant Tree Regeneration

White Ash

Northern Red Oak

Yellow Birch

where are groups located
Most hardwood stands are actually composed of natural groups of trees that lend themselves to group selection

Mature trees can be harvested in groups

Groups of diseased trees can be harvested to improve stand composition

Where are groups located?
size of the opening
1) The typical recommendation is twice the height of adjacent trees. If the adjacent trees are 75 feet tall, the diameter of the opening would be 150 feet.

2) However, Lamson and Leak (2000) state that group selection has been successful when cutting areas as large as 2 acres in size; technically there is no upper limit to the size as long as groups are not recognized, mapped, or retreated as individual stands.

3) The percentage of intolerant species (e.g., paper birch and aspen) and intermediate species (e.g., yellow birch, red oak, and white ash) increases with group size.

Size of the Opening
should small trees be cut
If the goal is to encourage maximum amounts of regeneration from seed or stump sprouts within groups, then all stems larger than 2 inches in diameter at breast height should be cut.Should small trees be cut?
do you thin between the groups
Thinning the stand between the groups is the normal procedure when applying group selection cutting.

It can provide the volume needed for a commercial timber sale when there is insufficient volume in the group cuts.

It is generally recommended to leave a residual basal area between the groups of about 70 square feet/acre, excluding the new groups. It is also recommended that 40–50 square feet/acre of the residual basal area be left in sawtimber to ensure that there will be adequate volume for future cuts.

Do you thin between the groups?
wildlife considerations
Group selection cutting creates a range of wildlife habitats, from newly regenerated groups to mature forest. It provides browse, cover, and nesting sites.

Group size and shape can be varied to produce habitats for a wide variety of wildlife species.

Wildlife Considerations
impact of group selection cutting on breeding bird populations
Group selection cutting has a moderate impact on breeding bird populations.

One study showed that recent clearcuts, early group selection cuts, and mature stands were used by 46, 33, and 30 species, respectively.

Only a few bird species were found in mature, unmanaged stands that were not found in the group selection areas (Costello 1995).

Impact of Group Selection Cutting on Breeding Bird Populations
two different methods to achieve a group selection cut
Use larger, mechanized equipment such as a feller buncher to achieve your result more safely and efficiently, and use a rubber-tired grapple skidder to haul whole trees to the landing for processing

Use a chain saw to directionally fell trees where you can more easily remove them using a small forwarder, farm tractor, or horses and oxen

Two Different Methods to Achieve a Group Selection Cut
i use of feller buncher to create group selection openings most efficient method
I. Use of Feller Buncher to Create Group Selection Openings — Most Efficient Method

Using a feller buncher is the most efficient method to create openings when compared to the chainsaw/forwarder method illustrated later in this report.

group selection opening created by a feller buncher
Group Selection Opening Created by a Feller Buncher

Goals for this opening included improving ruffed grouse habitat and regenerating desired tree species, such as red oak, yellow birch, and white ash.

vegetation development two years after a group selection cut
Vegetation Development Two Years After a Group Selection Cut

Regeneration primarily consists of northern red oak, bigtooth aspen, hazelnut, red maple, American beech, and Rubus sp.

trees moved to a landing using a grapple skidder
Trees Moved to a Landing Using a Grapple Skidder

A grapple skidder was used to pull whole trees from the group selection opening to the landing on flagged skid trails.

best management practices applied to skid trails and stream crossings
Best Management Practices Applied to Skid Trails and Stream Crossings

Temporary bridge installed over a small stream to reduce erosion.

Slashings placed on a skid trail to reduce erosion.

log landing
Log Landing

At the log landing, logs were sorted into sawlogs, pulpwood, and biomass chips based on tree species, quality, and markets.

ii use of chain saw to create opening small equipment or small scale harvesting
Harvesting individual trees using a chain saw; directional felling into openings

Using a small-tracked forwarder to winch tree-length logs out of the opening or adjacent forest (or you can use a farm tractor, or horse and oxen depending on tree size)

Hoisting tree-length logs to a forwarder with a grapple and hauling them to a landing

Demonstration of removing a hazard tree with a chain saw and loader

II. Use of Chain Saw to Create Opening — Small Equipment or Small-Scale Harvesting
sizing up the tree for directional falling into the opening
Sizing up the Tree for Directional Falling into the Opening

A Certified Professional Logger examines the tree prior to felling to reduce the safety hazard. Falling the tree along the edge of the opening makes it easier for the forwarder to pick it up.

the first two cuts face cut
The First Two Cuts — Face Cut

Photo by Peter Smallidge, Cornell Cooperative Extension

FACE CUT—a section of wood sawn and removed from a tree's base. Its removal allows the tree to fall and helps direct where it will fall. The face is comprised of two separate cuts that have constant relationships: the horizontal cut must be at least one-third the diameter of the tree, the sloping cut must be angled enough to allow a wide opening, and the two cuts must not cross each other.

winching tree length logs from trees growing adjacent to the opening to the small tracked forwarder
Winching Tree-length Logs (From Trees Growing Adjacent to the Opening) to the Small-tracked Forwarder
removing hazard trees with a loader and chain saw
Removing Hazard Trees With a Loader and Chain Saw

While the hazard tree is being held by the loader, the certified logger evaluates the breakage point on the stem for his cut. The upper part of the stem, not shown, is wedged into a branching fork of a red oak tree.

The hazard tree has been cut and released by the loader. Next, the tree will be grabbed by the loader higher up on the stem and pushed to the ground by the loader.

farm tractor and winch another method to haul logs to the landing
Farm Tractor and Winch — Another Method to Haul Logs to the Landing

Photo by Merle Ring, Maine Forest Service

and another method to haul logs to the landing horses
And Another Method to Haul Logs to the Landing- Horses

Photo from Merle Ring, Maine ForestService

slide34

Contact:

USDA Forest Service

Northeastern Area

State and Private Forestry

271 Mast Road

Durham, NH 03824

Or visit:

www.na.fs.fed.us

Special thanks to Gordon Moore and Merle Ring of the Maine Forest Service, and Maggie Eckardt of the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine.

The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

All photos by Roger Monthey unless indicated otherwise.