Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Natural Resources and Renewables


Module 2: Harvesting System


Nova Scotian landowners desire many things from their woodlots. This module examines one of those objectives in detail - wood production. It describes several systems for harvesting wood fibre that can be done by the landowner or under his/her direction.

Harvesting is the first step in Silviculture - the art and science of growing trees and forests in accordance with a landowner's objectives. As you will see, how to regenerate and improve a future stand should be considered before harvesting.

Harvesting can affect many things in the forest, including recreation potential, wildlife, water quality, and other environmental issues. To avoid repetition, these values are not discussed in each lesson, but some are included in the final chapter "Putting It All Together". This is appropriate because most values are dealt with similarly, regardless of harvesting method. These values are also discussed more thoroughly in other modules in this series.

Forests can be harvested by clearcutting, shelterwood (including seed tree) cutting, selection cutting and high grade cutting. Clearcutting and shelterwoods produce even aged forest stands that have trees of roughly the same age.

The selection method produces and maintains uneven-aged stands with trees of several age classes and sizes.

High grading, where only the best trees are cut, is not recommended. Only poor quality trees are left to reproduce the next generation of trees.

As you read this manual you will learn how the species and health of your trees can limit the harvesting options listed above. You will not learn about individual species characteristics. These are discussed in Introduction to Silviculture - the first manual of this home study series - which should be read before taking this course.

You will also not learn about taking the wood from the stand to roadside. There are many machines and systems for doing this important job and may be the subject, of a future module.

To help ensure the world-wide survival of forests many countries are insisting that wood products they buy come from managed forests. Proper harvesting with the future stand in mind is a key to meeting this requirement and may be a necessity to sell wood in the future. The ideas presented in this manual should help you to harvest properly.

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