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Forest Management in Central New England

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By coupling the forest history of New England to an understanding of the ecology of the region, the biology of forest trees, and society's demands for natural resources, Richard Fisher developed a comprehensive approach to forest management that he and his students came to call "ecological forestry". Because this approach was based on the study of natural stands and native species and attempted to work with the basic biology of forests in their natural landscape setting, it provides a clear precursor to the "new forestry" and "ecosystem management" approaches that have emerged in the late 20th century. 

This diorama shows two early treatments to improve the quality of a hardwood stand following the cutting of an old-field pine forest.On the far left is the edge of a 60-year-old white pine stand about to be clear-cut for lumber. Just prior to logging, seedlings and small saplings of hardwood... Read More >
Hardwood stands that have not been thinned or weeded in the first several decades of forest development contain trees of many species, conditions, and sizes. Improvement cutting generally removes inferior stems to favor the best-formed and healthiest trees of desirable species for the future.In the... Read More >
The improvement-cutting stage is eventually followed by thinning, which continues the process of removing trees that compete with selected crop trees.The thinning taking place in the hardwood stand to the right of the road is a "crown thinning" or "high thinning." Its purpose is to give the best... Read More >
This is the same stand as the one shown in the previous diorama, approximately 25 years later. Many of the largest trees are now 12 to 16 inches in diameter and of fine quality for timber. This excellence in growth and form for timber production is due to the weedings and thinnings applied... Read More >
On dry upland sites such as the one pictured, hardwoods often do not grow vigorously and are likely to develop crooked stems, like those in the stand on the far right. Pines, on the other hand, can grow quite well and produce high-quality timber on such sites, provided they are not crowded or... Read More >
Pines are more competitive with hardwoods in areas of dry, sandy soil than on rich, moist sites. On these dry sites it may be advantageous to supplement the hardwood trees with groups of white pine. At the time the dioramas were developed there was a strong emphasis on managing forests for pine... Read More >
Some abandoned fields or other open sites seed in heavily with both gray birch and white pine. Although much shorter-lived than the pine, gray birch grows much more rapidly at first and soon completely overtops the pine. Although the gray birch doesn't cast dense shade, eventually, the white pines... Read More >
One characteristic of white pine in pure stands is the persistence of dead branches that cause loose knots in the resulting lumber. If high-quality, knot-free lumber is desired, the lower branches must be sawed off close to the live stem when the trees are young. Such pruning also produces a more... Read More >
In our local landscape, which typically contains different land uses and soils in close proximity, white pine frequently forms nearly pure stands on recently abandoned agricultural land and dry sites, whereas hardwoods dominate moister and more fertile soils.If we wish to encourage white pine to... Read More >
The shelterwood method is a silvicultural approach through which a new generation of trees is established naturally under the shelter of older trees by a series of partial cuttings intended to:stimulate seed productioncreate favorable seedbed conditions on the forest floorsupply the young seedlings... Read More >