Thinning for forest health
An acre of land can only grow so much wood. One acre of fertile forestland may be able to sustain 500 little trees, or 100 big trees. Thinning is an effective and powerful forest management tool that promotes timber growth and restores forest health. When thinning a forest, slower growing or defective trees are removed to provide more space for the remaining trees to grow. The result is that available water and soil nutrients benefit those that remain, resulting in bigger, healthier trees in a shorter period of time.
Oregon forest landowners have also used thinning as a primary method of fire prevention over the last 100 years. By creating more space between trees, it becomes more difficult for a fire to spread tree-to-tree.
Forests that are not managed and thinned are filled with small trees, trees with lower hanging branches and a greater volume of dry brush and dead logs on the forest floor. Fire can then easily spread up trees in what’s known as a “fuel ladder,” leading to a crown or canopy fire that in most cases kills
virtually all the trees in a forest stand.
Thinning positively impacts tree growth, economic potential, species composition, resistance to insects and disease, quality of wildlife habitats, forage production and visual appearance of the tree stand.