Forestry on a Budget

Lonnie E. Varnedoe, Jr.
Professor, Forest Recreation
Project Coordinator and Managing Editor
The University of Georgia

Revised May, 1998

The Situation

Ben D. Jackson
Professor, Timber Harvesting
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

A cross-section of society, consisting of farmers, business and professional people, tradesmen, factory workers, school teachers and retirees represent Georgia's non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners who own over two-thirds of the state's commercial forestland.

In Georgia, there are 23.6 million acres of commercial forest land of which almost 17 million acres--72 percent--are owned by approximately 695,000 farmers and other nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners. This compares to 63 percent in the U.S. South. Forest industry ownership in Georgia, almost 5 million acres, is almost the same as the total percentage in the South--21 percent. Private ownership is at 4 percent and national forests (public ownership) is at 3 percent; they are relatively small ownership classes in Georgia.

Georgia forest acres.

In relation to all manufacturing in Georgia, forest industries in 1990 produced 24 percent of total output in the state. This is $1 of each $4 of output manufacturing added to the Georgia economy. Wood and paper processing is the number one output producing manufacturing sector in the Georgia economy. Of total Georgia manufacturing output of $45 billion, the forest industry (wood and paper processing sector) produced $11 billion directly in 1990. With a type 2 output multiplier (direct plus ripple effects, including household spending) of 1.7092 in Georgia, the wood and paper processing sector directly and indirectly produced almost $19 billion in output in a total Georgia economy of $243 billion in output in 1990. There are 1,600 forestry manufacturing firms in Georgia.

Manufacturing sector output comparisons in Georgia, 1990.

In relation to all manufacturing in Georgia, forest industries in 1990 employed 23 percent of workers. Thus, forest industry employs one of almost every four manufacturing workers and is the number one employer in manufacturing. Of 305,256 manufacturing workers in Georgia, forest industry (wood and paper processing) employs 69,292 workers directly. With a type 2 employment multiplier of 2.5443 in Georgia, the wood and paper processing sector directly and indirectly employees 176,300 workers in a total Georgia economy employing 3.7 million workers. Wood and paper, as used here, encompasses all or part of four main industry groups under the Standard Industrial Classification system used by the Bureau of the Census in collecting data on manufacturing. These are lumber and wood products, furniture and fixtures, paper and allied products and gum and wood chemicals. The U.S. forest products industry employs approximately 1.6 million people in forest and paper production.

In the U.S. South, 47 percent of total forest inventory is softwood with the remaining 53 percent hardwood. Georgia has similar percentages. Current softwood harvests run slightly above growth, while hardwoods harvests run only about onehalf of growth. Over the period 1990 to 2040, projections for softwood harvests from U.S. forests are an increase by 35 percent; hardwood harvests to rise by more than 51 percent. Total timberland area in Georgia is projected to decline from 23.6 to 21.8 million acres by the year 2030. Pine plantation acres are projected to increase from 4.72 to 7.17 million acres by 2030 and naturally regenerated pine acres to decrease from 6.97 to 3.14 million acres by 2030. Mixed pine/hardwood acreage is expected to decrease slightly from 2.74 to 2.42 million acres by 2030. Typically these mixed stands are 50 percent or more oak and 25 to 50 percent pine. Upland hardwood acreage in Georgia is expected to decrease slightly from 3.58 to 3.44 million acres by 2030. Annual sawtimber stumpage real price growth is expected over this projection period to be from 1 to 2 percent. Real pulpwood and paper price growth is projected to be flat over the period. To meet this projected increase in demand, output from southern forests is expected to increase by shifting toward more acres of planted pine and decreasing acreage of natural pine, mixed pine/hardwood and hardwood. Additionally, forestry cultural and management practices are expected to intensify. Increased production from more intensively managed planted pine will moderate further price increases of wood and paper products, relieve harvest pressure from public forests, and ensure sustainable production of forests crops, a renewable, natural resource.

Georgia timberland.

Forestry on a Budget Defined

The term "forestry on a budget" as used here describes forestry scenarios extending between natural stands with little direct capital investment and plantations with intensive forest management requiring relatively large capital investments. Forestry on a budget bridges between capitalizing on what nature offers and intensive timber management to maximize wood-flow and financial returns.
The applications of forestry on a budget can be illustrated by comparing and discussing wood-flows, cash-flows and financial profitability of natural pine regeneration to that of site prepared and planted loblolly pine stands on cutover forest lands and of pine plantation afforestation on marginal agricultural cropland.

Opportunities on nonindustrial private lands for increased timber production include:

  1. Salvaging and regenerating stands seriously damaged by insects, disease and weather.
  2. Harvesting and regenerating old, high-risk mature stands that have low growth and high mortality rates.
  3. Thinning young, densely-stocked stands where overcrowding is reducing growth and contributing to mortality.
  4. Conducting timber stand improvement to remove undesirable (weed) trees.
  5. Renovating poorly-stocked stands and planting marginal crop land to forest crops.
  6. Applying elements of intensive management to more nearly maximize forest growth and income potential.
Non-industrial private landowners can take advantage of these timber management opportunities-especially when demand for timber is increasing, prices are acceptable and returns on timber investments are generally favorable. However, some forestry management prescriptions can require larger sums of money early in the rotation than others. Generally, the forest industry model of clearcut, site-prepare, and plant with relatively large up-front site preparation and planting costs is sometimes perceived as the "best" over-all management option, and therefore is prescribed for non-industrial private lands. This model may not always be appropriate for NIPF landowners because the money available for investment in forestry projects may be more limited than for other landowner types. NIPF landowners should consider all their opportunities when choosing forestry enterprises.

Limited financial resources do not prevent landowners from undertaking sound forest management practices. There are a number of acceptable alternatives to the general forest industry model.

Natural Regeneration or Planted Stands: A Case Study

Natural and artificial regeneration differ in several important respects: wood-flow, cost of establishment, total economic returns and optimum length of tree rotation, among others. Wood-flow and related dollar revenues over a specific rotation period are greater for planted (artificially regenerated) pine stands than for naturally regenerated ones. For the same yield, the rotation period is shorter for planted stands than for natural stands. Conversely, the capital investment required to naturally regenerate a stand is significantly lower than that required to plant one. The lower costs can make natural regeneration attractive to private landowners, even though it yields less total revenue. A recent study by Dangerfield and Moorhead (1997), "Evaluating Pine Regeneration Economic Opportunities: Natural Regeneration, Cut-over Planted and Oldfield Afforestation Pine Stands," shows why. Afforestation here means starting a new forest on marginal agricultural cropland.

The natural regeneration scenario in this study was computermodeled using WINYIELD 1.11 (Hepp 1996), while the cut over and oldfield scenarios were modeled using GaPPS Version 4.0 (Zhou and Bailey 1996). Each scenario was examined using common assumptions, where possible, to compare the scenarios. Site productivity, indicated site index (SI), averaged 68 feet at 25 years. This SI can be described as highly productive and would be expected where additional inputs such as site preparation, weed competition control and fertilizer are added.

Financial parameters were set as:

Stumpage prices were projected uninflated. Total harvest expenses were computed at 12.5 percent of the harvest value, including 10 percent for marketing and 2.5 percent for ad valorem property taxes on timber harvested. Planting costs were charged at %50 per acre. Management was charged at $1 per acre per year.

All results are reported uninflated before taxes. Other variables such as hunting leases and pine straw harvests were omitted from these assumptions because they would be common to each scenario and would add no real new information to this comparative study.

All three pine regeneration scenarios examined grew substantial wood-flow (Table 1) and earned attractive returns for landowners (Table 2). This indicates that in a wide range of situations, from mature forest to marginal agricultural land, landowners can earn attractive profits when they take an active role in pine regeneration and subsequent management. If a forest landowner harvests trees but cannot afford several hundred dollars an acre to replant trees on cutover sites, planned natural regeneration is a good option. As shown in Table 2, replanting a cutover stand with a pine plantation will earn a higher rate of return and more total dollars per acre, than natural regeneration, $25 compared to $84 per acre per year for the two methods. But, cutover plantations require more investment capital to be tied up while the trees are growing than does a naturally regenerated stand. The highest returns and easiest tree planting can be realized through afforestation of marginal agricultural land. Several million acres of marginal agricultural land across the U.S. South, and over one million current agricultural acres in Georgia, will earn higher producer returns when planted to pine trees instead of to annual row crops. An Annual Equivalent Return ($/acre/year) of $133 per acre from trees competes favorably with most annual crops on marginal agricultural land (Table 2). Also, with afforestation of agricultural land, less investment capital is tied up in the growing trees compared to cutover plantations leading to a substantially higher IRR. The attractive growth and financial performances of tree plantations established on oldfield sites deserves a closer look by those landowners and investors interested in the practice of more intensive forestry.

Table 1. Modeled per acre stand parameters and woodflow of naturally regenerated, cut over and oldfield loblolly pine, U.S. South, planted 1997.

Rotation Stand Condition Residual Component Harvested Component
Length Age height PAIa Basal Area Stems Total Cords Basal Area Stems Total Cords
Natural 35 years 28 67 1.1 65 114 21.30 33 83 10.34
35 77 1.7 Final Harvest 91 107 32.90
Av. = 1.2 Totals/acre = 124 190 43.24
Cut over 33 years 18 50 1.7 80 301 17.40 57 215 12.37
25 64 3.1 80 148 23.57 56 127 15.58
33 75 3.3 Final Harvest 148 145 49.93
Av. = 2.4 Totals/acre = 261 487 77.88
Oldfield 33 years 18 62 2.4 80 250 21.70 77 244 21.16
25 78 3.7 80 127 28.85 54 101 18.54
33 89 3.8 Final Harvest 136 125 59.02
Av. = 3.0 Totals/acre = 267 470 98.72
Table 2. Projected uninflated financial performance of naturally regenerated, cut over, and oldfield loblolly pine, U.S. South, planted 1997.
Rotation Internal Rate of Return (IRR%) Annual Equivalent Value (AEV $/ac) Soil Expectation Value (SEV $/ac)
Natural, 35-year 9.7 25 621
Cut over, 33-year 10.61 84 2,104
Oldfield, 33-year 15.45 133 3,328

Overview of the Bulletin

This publication addresses wise use of limited financial resources in the practice of forestry. Several affordable and profitable options are presented. Alternatives that may turn a cost item into a revenue-producing enterprise or generate a savings over traditional methods are also discussed. The options presented are scientifically sound and lead to greater landowner profits and satisfaction in being a good steward of the land, as well as providing a continuing supply of raw material to the state's leading industry.


Dangerfield, C.W. Jr., and D.J. Moorhead. 1997. Evaluating Pine Regeneration Economic Opportunities: Natural Regeneration, Cut-over Planted, and Oldfield Afforestation Pine Stands. Forest Landowner. V. 56, No. 5. pp. 12-15. September/October.

Hepp, T. 1996. WINYIELD, Version 1.11, Timber Yield Forecasting and Planning Tool,, Tenn. Valley Auth. Forestry Building, 17 Ridgeway Rd., Norris, Tennessee 37828, Tel. 423-632-1518, FAX 423-632-1795.

Zhou, B., and R.L. Bailey. 1996. GaPPS, Version 4.0, Georgia Pine Plantation Simulator, D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, Tel. 706-542-1187.

A Forest Management Plan

Coleman W. Dangerfield, Jr.
Professor, Economics
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

It has been said that most people don't plan to fail; they fail to plan. Having a successful forestry enterprise is just like doing anything else: it takes a plan. This chapter deals with the items that should be included in a forest management plan.

Goals, Objectives and Expectations

A statement of goals, objectives and expectations from forest management is the first item for a management plan. Goals are the overall strategy. Objectives are the tactics used to implement that strategy. Write it down as formal as you can. What do you want from growing trees? Consider increased income, financial investment, wildlife, recreation, retirement income, children's education, estate planning, second home, farming, other ideas?

It is a good idea to include input from other people, such as family members, who are affected by the decisions you may make. Having a well defined, written set of goals and objectives is the most important aspect of any business. If you don't know where you are going, then it doesn't matter which road you take. Get your goals and objectives written down.

Decisions about forest lands should include concepts of multi-land use and alternative enterprises. Those in use today may include hunting leases, pine straw, cattle, pine cones, Christmas trees, pond management/fee fishing, honey bees, greenery, mushrooms, fishing worms, wild trees for landscaping, mineral leases, inter-row crop planting, firewood, etc. More information on alternative enterprises is contained in chapters 13 and 14 of this bulletin.

Landowner Assistance Programs

Assess landowner assistance programs that are available to help. Some current programs in place include the Forestry Incentives Program (FIP), the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Agencies that can provide assistance with forestry enterprises include the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Cooperative States Research Extension and Education Service (CSREES), the Federal Land Bank (FLB), the USDA-Forest Service and the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC).

In addition to agency-sponsored programs, private consultants and industrial foresters are available to provide specialized assistance. These professionals can help write a detailed management plan as well as provide practical assistance when carrying out the plan to plant, harvest, and market trees.

Chapter 16 provides additional details on educational, financial, and technical assistance available to private forest owners in the United States.

Land Description

A written land description is important to describe your physical and legal property. Make sure that the description contains a map showing the direction and length of each boundary line according to the legal land deed. The history of land ownership and property deeds should also be included in the written description.

Topographical information is necessary for planning management and harvesting operations. Topographic maps are helpful in planning access, firebreaks, managing smoke and for other general purposes. These are available from the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington, D.C.

Aerial photographs are invaluable to the development of a good management plan. Much of the information necessary for a workable plan, including measures of distance, can be obtained quickly and accurately from an aerial photo. Old photos can be used to help establish a history of your land, and recent photos provide an overall picture of your forest. Aerial photos can be obtained from your local FSA and NRCS office, state forester or from a private aerial photo service.

No land description is complete without a soil map. A soil map is helpful in delineating areas of equal site quality, judging land use capabilities and identifying limitations. Soil maps for most areas are available from your local NRCS office.

In describing your land, also include information about the climate, rainfall and length of the growing season. Special weather information such as the probability of ice, floods and droughts will also be useful in making decisions. It is also extremely important to know your rights to minerals, water and other legal aspects of land ownership particular to your county or state.

The written description is a good place to include information about existing and proposed streams, roads, gullies, fences, easements, dwellings and impoundments. Special features such as rocky outcrops, steep slopes, or old home sites should be clearly marked also. Figure 1 shows how a map can be used in an informal management plan.

Figure 1.

Figure 1. An informal management plan map for 150 acres .

State of the Forest Report

A state of the forest report should follow the written land description. In this section describe the major forest types. Map forest types by species, type, and age groups on a timber map.

Get a professional timber cruise to inventory present conditions for each stand (species, size and age distributions, stocking, site index, growth rates, and merchantable volume of the standing trees, and growth projections).

This key information gives your starting point. Just as you need goals and objectives to show where you are headed, you need to know your starting point. Show other site conditions such as disease or insects, wildlife use, wildlife food and cover and development potential.

Management Reccomendations

Proposed management recommendations are next in the management plan. This is where you begin to use the information collected so far to take action. Discussions should include proposed treatments of each timber stand. Make detailed prescriptions for specific tasks such as prescribed burns, weed competition control, tree thinning and stand regeneration preparations.

The management plan can begin to get complicated at this point. Recognize the benefits of getting help from the agencies listed earlier. Also, help from private forestry consultants and industrial foresters is not just another cost item. Professional help can pay big dividends in increased profits from timber sales. Be sure to include provisions for protecting the forest from disease, insects and fire. Include sales policies and other economic considerations.

Regeneration Plan

A regeneration plan is often overlooked until after timber has been harvested. By this time most of the flexibility in what you can do has been lost. The regeneration plan should include tree species selection, stand parameters for number of trees per acre and spacing, past disease and insect problems and weed control methods.

If regeneration is to be by natural means, specific actions have to be taken many years ahead of final harvest. These can include site preparation, prescribed burns to control weed trees and leaving high quality shelter wood and seed trees.

Seeded stands require specific site preparation, seeding method/rates, seed source and cost information.

Planted stands can be started by either hand or machine. With either method there are specific equipment requirements. Sometimes a contractor may be needed. Also, seedling sources must be lined up ahead of time. The different regeneration methods have specific cost and revenue structures. This can best be illustrated by comparing cash flow and budget projections under different assumptions. Table 3 shows typical cash flows for a naturally regenerated loblolly stand and a planted loblolly pine plantation. The biggest difference shown between these two types of regeneration is in the amount of money needed to get the stand started.

Table 3. Before tax dollars1 per acre cash flow by year for a naturally regenerated and a planted loblolly pine stand in Georgia.

Natural Planted
Year Net Accumulated Net Net Accumulated Net
0 -77.00 -77.00 -177.00 -177.00
1 -2.00 -79.00 -2.00 -179.00
2 -2.00 -81.00 -2.00 -181.00
3 -2.00 -83.00 -2.00 -183.00
4 -2.00 -85.00 -2.00 -185.00
5 -2.00 -87.00 -2.00 -185.00
6 -2.00 -89.00 -2.00 -189.00
7 -2.00 -91.00 -2.00 -191.00
8 -2.00 -93.00 -2.00 -193.00
9 -2.00 -95.00 -2.00 -195.00
10 -2.00 -97.00 -2.00 -197.00
11 -2.00 -99.00 -2.00 -199.00
12 -2.00 -101.00 -2.00 -201.00
13 -2.00 -105.00 -2.00 -203.00
14 -2.00 -105.00 -2.00 -205.00
15 -7.00 -112.00 39.13 -165.87
16 -2.00 -114.00 -2.00 -167.87
17 -2.00 -116.00 -2.00 -169.87
18 -7.00 -123.00 -7.00 -176.87
19 -2.00 -125.00 -2.00 -178.87
20 164.25 39.25 -2.00 -180.87
21 -7.00 32.25 -7.00 -187.87
22 -2.00 30.25 181.21 -6.66
23 -2.00 28.25 -2.00 -8.66
24 -7.00 21.25 -7.00 -15.66
25 74.79 96.04 -2.00 -17.66
26 -2.00 94.04 -2.00 -19.66
27 -7.00 87.04 -7.00 -26.66
28 -2.00 85.04 791.80 765.14
29 -2.00 83.04
30 502.50 585.54
Natural regeneration is a good, lowcost method to start a new forest. The return on dollars invested in growing trees is as good as that earned by a planted stand. However, total cash flow is less with natural regeneration compared to planted stands. More information is provided on low cost regeneration methods on page 14 of this publication.

Enterprise and Tax Records

Enterprise and tax records must be included with any business venture and should include tax forms, professional help, tax laws and time tables.

Provisions of The 1986 Tax Reform Act have changed the nature of investments in forestry and should be incorporated to show the tax affects. There is no longer a federal tax exclusion for long term capital gains. However, there remains an 84 month amortization and 10 percent investment credit on certain reforestation costs (you can charge off, over a 7 year period, up to $10,000 per year in reforestation costs).

Enterprise records should show forestry costs and incomes as well as land and timber basis. Also consider legal liability, contracts, invitees, licensees, trespassers, animals, tenants, insurance, maintenance, sale of forest resources and a lawyer.

Managing timber to minimize the taxes paid can be a complicated process. Be sure to get the best professional advice available on these matters well before actions are taken. After timber is sold or trees are planted, most of your flexibility to minimize taxes is gone. So, plan ahead.

Harvesting and Marketing

Harvesting and marketing is not just cutting trees. Many landowners do a good job over the years of growing trees only to lose thousands of dollars through poor harvesting and marketing plans. Make sure you know which products bring how much money at the market. Also, realize that the proper thinning schedule can greatly improve cash flows and increase total revenues.

Plan tree harvest by stand type. Develop a time table for harvests, harvest methods and restrictions to protect your resources. Include plans for site preparation for new trees after upcoming harvests.

Study timber price history and projections when planning tree harvests. Your plan should include marketing contract information and forms, liens, bids, improvement protection and easements.

Never sell timber without a timber cruise which tells you exactly how much and what kind of timber you have. Timber value depends on the size and product classes (pulpwood, chip-n-saw, and sawtimber) of trees you have.

Tax considerations apply heavily in the marketing plan. Be sure to get competent advice. More information on harvesting and marketing timber is provided in the section on Marketing and Harvesting on page 51 of this bulletin.

Appendix Information

Appendix information should be included in your forestry management plan. Include a glossary of forestry terms and information commonly used. Lists of adjacent landowners, vendors, consultants, state foresters, and timber buyers should be kept in an appendix. Also, Federal, state, and local laws and codes affecting the timber enterprise should be in an appendix.

Low-cost Pine Regeneration Options

David J. Moorhead
Professor, Silviculture
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Establishing a new stand of pine seedlings doesn't have to be expensive. You can use several effective, low-cost pine regeneration methods as alternatives to expensive mechanical site preparation and planting. These low-cost regeneration methods fit many situations. If you have not yet harvested your stand of timber, consider using one of the natural regeneration methods. If trees have already been cut, treating with herbicides and planting seedlings or direct seeding are low-cost options. By planning and carefully selecting a regeneration method, you can establish a pine stand for one-third to one-half the cost of mechanical site preparation and planting.

Natural Regeneration Methods

Existing pine stands of average or better quality on the site are good choices and sources for natural regeneration. Natural pine regeneration methods commonly used in the South are seed-tree, shelterwood, clearcutting with seed in-place, clearcutting with seedlings in-place and strip clearcuts. Properly used, these methods result in low-cost pine regeneration without using heavy equipment and with minimal labor and site disturbance. A disadvantage in using natural regeneration is the delay in seedling establishment in poor seed years and during dry springs and summers. Also, genetically-improved stock cannot be used and pine species other than those already on the site cannot be established.

Planting allows for the optimum number of seedlings per acre. With natural regeneration, some areas within the stand may have too few seedlings while other areas have too many. When there are too many seedlings per acre, a precommercial thinning is often necessary to maintain growth, incurring an additional cost. This variation in stocking often results in lower yields from naturally regenerated stands compared to planted stands. However, this problem can be reduced by carefully applying proper methods.

Using a natural pine regeneration method requires planning long before you intend to harvest your present stand of pine. Manage the existing stand to develop good seed-producing trees, reduce competition from understory brush, and provide a good seedbed for germination. Begin a prescribed burning program to control understory vegetation that competes with the pines for moisture, nutrients and growing space. Pine seed needs bare mineral soil for germination, so a thick understory of hardwoods, grass and other brush slows the growth of established trees and makes seedling establishment impossible. Prescribed burning at three to five year intervals prior to harvest controls understory competition and prepares a good seedbed.

Seed-tree and Shelterwood Methods

The seed-tree and shelterwood methods are similar in application and requirements. To use these methods successfully two key conditions must be met: Control of understory brush, weeds and hardwoods that will prevent seedling establishment and assurance that high quality pine trees remain on the site after the timber harvest to provide seed for the new stand. Control of competing vegetation is essential and most easily done using prescribed fire. In stands where prescribed burning has not been used, it's beneficial to burn at two-year intervals before harvest. Use herbicides on large hardwoods not controlled by the prescribed burning program.

The seed tree and shelterwood methods are applied by a series of cuts or harvests. In unmanaged and dense pine stands, a preparatory cut, which is essentially a thinning, is made at least three years before the seed cut to promote crown development of potential seed producing trees. The seed cut leaves only the seed producing trees. In many cases the preparatory cut is not necessary and the seed cut will be the first harvest cut. Once regeneration is established, promptly harvest the seed trees.

The seed tree and shelterwood methods differ in the number of seed-producing trees left in the seed cut. In the seed-tree method, six to eight trees remain per acre. This number usually provides enough seed in good seed years to regenerate the site. A single pine tree can produce 15,000 seeds, but in dry years and on poor sites seed production may be lower. During the l986 drought, only three of ten seed trees per acre produced seed in a seed-tree regeneration operation in the Georgia Piedmont. When the seed-tree method is used on small tracts, it is difficult to market the seed trees. The small volume of wood usually brings a lower price because the logger cannot work as efficiently.

A modified shelterwood system that is commonly used in the South leaves 20 to 40 seed trees on each acre after the initial seed cut. This ensures an ample seed supply in most years and an easily marketed volume of wood available after the seed cut. Aesthetically, many landowners prefer the more natural look of a modified shelterwood with more overstory trees remaining after the initial harvest. The remaining trees provide shade which slows the growth of competing vegetation. Longleaf pine is regenerated using the shelterwood method because the large, heavy seeds are not dispersed as far from the seed trees.

With either method, the seed trees selected in the seed cut should be the best trees in the stand. These are mature trees (30 years old), 12 to 16 inches in diameter, with straight stems and large, well-developed crowns showing no evidence of disease. Select trees with a live crown ratio of at least 30 percent for maximum seed production. The live crown ratio is the percentage of total tree height covered by living branches. If the crowns are too small, make a preparatory cut to stimulate crown development. Avoid high-grading the stand because this leaves only weak, suppressed trees with thin crowns and no potential as seed producers.

After the seed cut, check the cone crops on the trees and burn the site just before seed release in the fall to clear a mineral soil seedbed. Seed fall for the major southern pines begins in October and continues through December. Seeds of loblolly, shortleaf and slash pine begin to germinate in early February. Longleaf pine seeds germinate soon after seed fall. Newly-germinated seedlings are susceptible to temperature extremes and early spring droughts, but with favorable conditions, sufficient numbers of seedlings are usually established within three years of the seed cut.

Evaluate regeneration success in the winter when the green seedlings stand out against the dead grass. When there are several thousand well distributed two-to three-year-old seedlings established per acre, remove the seed trees. If an adequate stand of seedlings is not established, you must wait until the next good seed crop and reburn the site to control competition and prepare the seedbed.

Harvest the seed trees when the seedlings are two to three years old. As the seedlings get older they are subject to greater damage during harvest. Supervise the removal of the seed trees to prevent damage to the new stand. Locate logging roads and skid trails to minimize damage to seedlings. However, dense patches of seedlings may be thinned by running skid trails through them. If more than several thousand seedlings remain after the removal cut, reduce the number of seedlings to 700 to 900 per acre by mowing or harrowing 10 to 12 foot wide strips leaving 1 to 2-foot-wide rows of seedlings. Leaving seed trees on the site however, causes poor seedling growth and a loss of income from failure to sell the best trees in your stand.

Clearcut Methods

Another natural regeneration method is clearcutting with seed-in-place, with seedlings-in-place or in strips. Each method requires a clean understory with an exposed mineral soil seedbed to be successful. Confirm seedling establishment or the presence of an abundant and mature cone crop by performing a thorough inventory before the stand is clearcut. Misapplication of these methods results in poor quality stands of low value species.

The seed-in-place method requires control of understory vegetation through a series of prescribed burns or herbicide treatments before seed fall occurs. The stand is then harvested in the fall after the seeds have dispersed. If a new stand of seedlings is not established, the tract must be artificially regenerated.

If an inventory of your stand reveals several thousand well-established seedlings per acre, consider using the seedling-in-place clearcut method. Harvest your stand in late summer or fall after the seedlings have survived their first growing season. Carefully plan skid trails to minimize damage to the seedlings and to thin dense areas of reproduction. Clearcutting strips 200 feet wide in well stocked stands is an effective regeneration option. Cut the strips perpendicular to prevailing winds to ensure that seeds from trees in the uncut strips blow into the clearcuts. Before seed fall, burn the strips to prepare the seedbed and reduce competition.

Direct Seeding

Consider using direct seeding for sites that are difficult to plant or regenerate naturally because of limitations in access, topography, drainage or lack of a suitable seed source. Successful direct seeding depends upon quality seed, adequate site preparation to control competition and to expose a mineral soil seedbed and favorable weather conditions. Avoid direct seeding on droughty soils, steep terrain where seed may wash from slopes and sites where germinating seed may be covered by water.

Obtain seed from reputable sources in the geographic region where they will be planted. Loblolly, shortleaf and slash pine seed should be stratified to improve germination and commercially treated with repellents to protect against seed-eating predators. Sow these species in the spring. Freshly-collected longleaf seed (treated with repellents) can be sown in the fall or in early spring. Stratification may benefit germination of stored seed.

On small acreage use cyclone seeders to broadcast seed in strips. By removing litter and dropping seeds on bare mineral soil, individual spots can be hand seeded. Tractor mounted row-seeders sow seed in rows that helps control stocking and spacing. Large acreages are most efficiently seeded using fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. Combine several local tracts so a contractor can reduce costs by aerially seeding them in one operation.

Low-input Site Preparation and Planning

If natural regeneration or direct seeding is not possible or desired, consider low-input site preparation and planting. This method involves treating cutover areas with herbicides, burning the areas, then hand planting seedlings. The cost of this practice depends upon the amount of herbicide needed, but ranges from one-half to two-thirds the cost of mechanical site preparation. On recently-harvested stands, inject the standing trees with a herbicide in the spring, burn during late summer and hand plant in the winter. If brush and weeds are a problem, treat the area with a soil-active or foliar herbicide by broadcast or spot treatments, burn and plant. When little debris remains on the site, a small dozer with a V-blade can clear debris from the planting row and pull a mechanical planter.

Some sites can be planted and treated with herbicides in a pine release operation several years later. This is a good option when advanced competition from brush and weeds is not severe. Only the vegetation competing with the individual pine seedlings needs to be controlled with spot or row treatments, so chemical costs are reduced. This option is attractive because the cost of the pine release can be added to the expenses on your income tax return the year it occurs. Costs of site preparation must be capitalized and recovered through amortization over an 84-month period.

Low-input site preparation treatments can be contracted through consulting foresters or applied yourself. Careful selection of herbicide treatments can lower your establishment costs (see Winning with Herbicides).

Reducing the up-front costs of stand establishment may result in greater returns to your forestry investment at the end of the rotation. Check the condition of your timberlands (Table 4) and talk with a forester to determine the best low-cost option for regenerating your timberland.

Table 4. Selecting a low-cost regeneration option.

Present Stand Condition & Regeneration Option(s):

Mature pine to be harvested in next five years. Understory has few hardwoods and brush.

Mature pines to be harvested in next five years. Heavy understory of hardwoods and brush. Cut-over timberland, heavy hardwoods and brush competition. Understocked stands combining pines and hardwoods. Sandhill sites. Shortleaf pine stands with littleleaf disease.

Renovating Poor Pine Stands

Kim D. Coder
Professor, Silvics/Ecology
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Well-managed stands of pines producing numerous values to the landowner are one aspect of good forestry. Unfortunately, many stands of pines do not fully use inherent site productivity to produce value. These pine stands have been abused, unmanaged or poorly managed over the years. Major renovation treatments are required to bring these stands back to full productivity and to facilitate management in future years. Several aspects of pine stand renovation are presented in this chapter. Complete stand conversions from hardwoods to pines and other possible management alternatives such as pine/hardwood mixes or hardwoods are not discussed.


All treatments discussed are related to forest succession, which is the progression of colonization and growth of different species on a site over time. Open sites are colonized by species that require plenty of light for food production and mineral soil for seed germination. As these trees grow, they shade the understory and produce litter that covers the ground. These earlysuccessional trees create an understory in which few of their own seedlings can become established.

When the understory cannot be colonized by the overstory trees, other species that can become established in partial shade and have seeds that germinate well in litter will grow. These species begin to form an incomplete secondary canopy layer below the overstory. As secondary canopy trees grow, their canopies rise, eventually pushing out the early successional species. As the early successional species die and cannot replace themselves, the stand becomes dominated by the new species.

New species succeed in the stand if their seeds can germinate, young seedlings can survive in the understory and stems can grow quickly into overstory openings. An additional feature of these latersuccessional species is sprouting from established root systems. This gives a tree a headstart over the competition. For example, young oak seedlings may have stems two years old and root systems 12 years old. Oak continues to sprout until an opportunity exists for the sprout to grow into a canopy gap.

Pine is an earlysuccessional species. Conditions that are similar to open, newly harvested sites favor pine if the disturbance area is large enough to minimize competition, open up mineral soil for seeds and provide full sunlight. Latersuccessional species like oak, maple and other hardwoods sprout back after disturbance or harvesting, and can survive more shading, less exposed soil for seeds and more competition.

To maintain pine, management activities must create conditions favorable to pine and unfavorable to its competition. By periodically damaging hardwoods (later-successional species), pine will continue to dominate the site. This type of management will inhibit normal successional processes that would lead to a hardwood stand. Without management or with poor management, pine sites will eventually be dominated by hardwoods. Good management holds the site at an early-successional stage prime for pine. Prescribed burning, herbicide use and cutting are ways to hold succession in the pine stage.

Crown Management

Managing stands of trees involves holding succession back and managing individual trees involves manipulating tree crowns. A tree crown is the leaves and supporting branches that help the tree trunk (your product) grow. Without a healthy crown to produce food, you will have no product to sell.

Trees make food by capturing sunlight in their leaves. Energy from sunlight is used to produce food from air and water, so leaves must be exposed to adequate sunlight. When trees cannot capture enough sunlight they decline and die. Larger tree crowns result in more food production, which leads to increased wood production.

Because light and other resources needed for tree growth are limited, decide which trees should be favored. Emphasize trees with rapid, highquality growth with few risks and great market potential. Allowing trees with no economic value to live prevents favored trees from using those resources for growth.

To maximize economic returns, pines must grow as big as they can in the shortest amount of time. Concentrate site resources (light, water and essential elements) onto a few crop trees and eliminate the rest of the trees. Resources can be shared by hundreds of trees and weeds, or concentrated on a few crop trees that will make money. Ensure that crop trees fatten their trunks by keeping their crowns large and eliminating neighboring competitors.

Trees must have large crowns to make food and to react well to any stand treatments. Leave crop trees well distributed across the site and free to grow or use planting to establish new seedlings so crop trees can fully occupy the site.

Stand Problems

There are four common problems associated with abused and poorly-managed pine stands:( 1) Stands are dominated by hardwoods with pines greatly understocked; (2) Stands are severely high graded; (3) Stands are harvested and not replanted; and (4) Stands have too many stems and have stagnated.

In some cases, problems are the result of decades of abuse, no management or poor management. Instant, radical solutions may not be possible and may destroy future productivity so the solutions presented are not "quick fixes". Patience and correct treatments will yield good results.

Before prescribing a treatment, the problem must be fully appreciated. What is the problem? If the stand is understocked with pine, how many pines are present? If the stand was harvested and not replanted, what is on the site now? Should a stand be liquidated to start over or left to harvest the few remaining stems? In stagnated pine stands, how dense are the stems? These questions and others must be answered as accurately as possible to ensure prudent, costeffective and timely treatments. An inventory is essential.


A basic site inventory must be developed to provide the number, distribution and commercial volume of crop trees per acre, basal area of crop trees versus total basal area on the site, quality of crop trees, site quality estimate, major competing species, amount of advanced pine regeneration in the understory and pattern of problems across the site. Mapping overstocked crop tree areas, areas without crop trees and good crop tree areas on paper is important. Treatments must be applied to specific problem areas to be cost effective. Only with an accurate inventory and identification of problem areas can renovation begin.

In this section, 5acre blocks (with 467foot sides of a square or a 263foot radius of a circle) are used as the minimum size of a renovation treatment. Renovation can occur over an entire forest or in small blocks or patches. Fiveacre units are an easy way to plan and keep track of treatments because they are a good size for providing resources for an earlysuccessional species like pine. Designate problem areas and treatments in any scale, but the smaller the treatable unit, the higher the per croptree costs become.

Total Stand Liquidation

The first option in renovating stands often appears to be to completely harvest (liquidate) and start over. This may or may not be the best financial option. Only by proper inventory and informed projection of future value can a decision be made. A key point is to determine at what point the stand is in a normal rotation. Is the stand just starting out (one to seven years) with crop trees not well developed, or is the stand nearing the end of a rotation (within five years of harvest) with few crop trees present? In these cases, complete harvest might be a costeffective alternative, but for most stands in the middle of a rotation period, liquidation would not be economical if any crop trees with good growth rates exist.

Figure 2.

Figure 2. Example of a decision guide for totally liquidating a stand at a given interest rate. The decision line is different for every forest situation.

Generally, the higher the discount (interest) rate for acceptable management alternatives is, the more costly midrotation liquidation becomes (see Figure 2). Early in stand life, little rotation time and site resources are invested in the new stand, so losses from a total harvest to start again are relatively low. Near the end of a rotation when the trees are close to harvest, a total harvest does not involve large additional costs. Stands in the middle of a rotation cycle with few crop trees can be carried to full rotation age with fewer costs and more returns than completely harvesting and starting over. If you decide to completely liquidate a stand, use one of the methods presented in the section on Low Cost Regeneration Options. Herbicides may be required to release the pines once established.

Renovation Tools

There are ways a forest manager or landowner can move a stand back to pines and keep the stand growing pine productively. These include controlling competition with chemicals, using prescribed burning once advanced pine regeneration or planted pines are 10 years old, cutting unwanted stems and species in the stand, and removing trees of the crop species that are poorly growing, poorly formed or too densely planted. Planting can be used to establish new pine stands and provide genetic improvement and pestresistant trees on a site. Each of these processes has advantages and disadvantages and all can be misused.

The purpose of renovation is to thin pines that are too dense or to push succession back to an early stage. Holding succession at an early stage minimizes competition, assists with natural reproduction and ensures future stands will be easier to manage.

The level of treatment needed to allow pines to dominate a site is limited by the additional economic returns a specific treatment yields at harvest time. The most effective and efficient level of treatment per acre at the lowest cost over time determines what treatment to use and to what extent it is used.


Modern chemicals are becoming more specific, less costly and pose less of an environmental impact than earlier chemicals. Their use, if label specifications are followed, is a tremendous aid in controlling competition and unwanted species. Chemicals can be sprayed by helicopter, ground units or backpack sprayers or hand injected. See the section on Winning With Herbicides for information.

Prescribed Burning

One of the most useful and least expensive forest management tools is careful application of fire. Fire removes competing vegetation and destroys dense litter with little damage to pines of the desired age and height. Take care that the fire does not destroy young pines or disfigure marketable pines. Fire pushes succession back to an early stage and, if used periodically, can build a pine stand. A single prescribed fire in a stand needing renovation does little longterm good, but a series of prescribed burns three to five years apart will destroy sprouting hardwoods and help pines. For additional information, see the section on Fire)The Cheapest Tool.

Timber Stand Improvement (TSI)

Removing unwanted hardwood stems by cutting or chemicals allows more site resources to be used by crop trees. Dead, dying, pestfilled, decayed, malformed or suppressed trees should be removed and kept from reproducing in the stand. Eliminate undesirable and poor trees before any release treatments because these trees will respond to any resulting increase in growing space. Large hardwoods can be effectively controlled by herbicide application.

Precommercial Thinning

This type of thinning is not emphasized in the section on intermediateaged stand management because it is expensive and yields no saleable product. Most of the young trees are cut to reduce competition among themselves and to provide room for remaining pines.

Commercial Thinning

Thinning is covered in the section on intermediate aged stand management. Thinning removes marketable pines that are flattopped, damaged, poorly formed, pestattacked, decayed, declining or suppressed. Thinning is also used in renovation work to cut "wolf" trees. Wolf trees are large and limby and consume resources such as light, water and essential elements out of proportion to their value and they prevent new pines from growing. Thinning is also used to remove marketable pines that are growing too close together. Thinning operations must be carefully applied to prevent residual stand damage to young and mature trees.


Planting establishes new trees in patches or over entire forests where few pines exist. Single tree planting or interplanting is not costeffective. Planting can replace stands in which highquality stems have been cut out and only poor stems exist. Planting allows pines with improved genetic attributes such as pest resistance and growth and form improvements to be established on a site.


Hardwoods Dominant/Pines Understocked

The first type of renovation is for stands with dominant hardwoods and greatly understocked pines. These stands require hardwood removal and pine regeneration. Financial, pine growth and site considerations must be carefully examined when treating this type of stand.

Remove hardwoods with periodic fire and/or chemical treatments. Most hardwoods less than 3 inches in diameter have thin bark and are susceptible to fire damage. The first fire kills the main stem and the next fire kills the sprouts. Repeated prescribed burns are necessary for hardwood control. Larger hardwood trees not killed by fire can be chemically injected or girdled. If advanced regeneration of pine is in the understory, wait 7 to 10 years before the second burn if a regeneration cut, unevenaged management or group management is planned.

Large patches that are at least 1 acre in size and empty of trees after herbicide treatments are suitable for planting. Plant across the site with 12foot by 12-foot (302 trees per acre) spacing. Control herbaceous and woody competition around seedlings and eliminate overtopping neighboring hardwoods. Plant pines in full sun and delay further fire until seedlings are 10 years old. Release pines with chemicals in two to five years if needed. Prescribed burning done just before pine seed crops can help establish new pine seedlings with a lowcost natural regeneration system. See the section on LowCost Pine Regeneration Options for more information.

Severe Highgrading

Many pine stands have been severely high graded. Diameterlimit cutting, selective cutting and "cut the best" are types of highgrading. Highgrading is done by cutting the best trees and leaving the pestinfested, decayed, damaged, crooked, dying, declining and suppressed trees to reproduce. After several cycles of highgrading, stand productivity for timber will decline to where there is little value in the stand and few expectations of producing value through growth.

This type of stand requires enrichment plantings, heavy TSI and hardwood control to prevent hardwood dominance. Because stands are abused by different means of highgrading, careful examination and treatment application are required. Plant in areas completely harvested or opened by vegetation control to establish highquality pines on the site. Plant in blocks with about 300 seedlings per acre on a 1 2foot by 12-foot grid so that each pine is in full sun and free to grow.

Remove competition by a preplanting prescribed burn, wait 10 years for the pines to grow, then begin a periodic cycle of burning. Competition can be removed and pines released by herbicides within five years. If large pines that can act as seed trees exist (six to eight mature trees per acre with large crowns) , burn in late summer before good seed crops.

The problem with high graded stands is not from succession to hardwoods but from limited biological productivity. Reverse this process by eliminating all unwanted or unacceptable stems, and by favoring good pines already on the site. Several TSI treatments and harvest/plantings may be needed for full recovery.

Harvesting Without Regeneration

One of the most prevalent and costly mistakes made with pine stands is harvesting with no regeneration plan or delaying regeneration. Every year that a site is not producing pine wood represents income lost. Regeneration delays cause the next pine forest, when established, to suffer greater competition problems, be more costly to establish and take longer to grow to harvest. If regeneration is not planned at all, the site follows a natural successional pattern dominated by hardwoods. The more hardwoods present, the more expense and time needed to recapture the site for pine production.

These types of stands require vegetation control by fire and chemicals to minimize hardwoods, site preparation on some areas and planting. If naturally regenerated pines do not exist on the site, the stand should be liquidated and burned. The site can then be regenerated by lowcost site preparation and planting methods. Pine release after two to five years will probably be needed.

If more than 150 stems of advanced pine regeneration (greater than one inch in diameter) or more than 300 stems of pine seedlings exist, use pine release. Clumps of seedlings create spacing problems and should be thinned out. If little natural pine regeneration exists, the site is still young enough in the rotation to be started over. Additional chemical, brush cutting and prescribed burning will be needed to ensure pine dominance.

Stagnated Stands

Just as stands with no pine regeneration are a problem, so are young stands that have 1,200 or more stems per acre. These stands suffer from severe competition that slows growth and stagnates young stands. Whole stands can be lost when stagnated. Stagnation resulting from too many stems is usually apparent by the fifth year. Young stands can be precommercially thinned. This method is expensive, but is one of the few remedies for crowded seedlings. Poorly formed, poorly positioned or diseased stems should be cut about 6 to 12 inches above the ground. Crop trees should be left at levels of 300 (12 by 12 foot spacing) to 500 (9.5 by 9.5 foot spacing) stems per acre. If left untreated, the entire stand could be lost to pest or competition problems or have slow growth for decades. See the section on IntermediateAged Stand Management for more information.

Older stands that are over 130 square feet of basal area can stagnate and be prone to pest attack and stress problems. These stands were planted too densely and never thinned or arose from dense natural regeneration. Older stands require more care in thinning. Some species, such as slash pine, do not respond well to thinning. Wind blowdown and ice damage can become problems for remaining trees in newly thinned older stands, and residual tree damage from thinning is difficult to prevent in a dense stand. Thin stands back to 70 to 80 square feet of basal area for the first thinning from a stagnated older stand.


Bad stands and bad management do not mean a site is bad. Good sites often are filled with bad management decisions, mistakes or unexpected acts of nature. Renovating these stands will keep them productive. Renovating pine stands does require investments of time and money to make up for years of neglect, abuse or ignorance. Seek professional assistance from foresters to properly manage your forest resources. Invest in the future by renovating nonproductive sites.

Table 5. Decision table based upon stand conditions.

Manage Existing Stand Harvest and Regenerate
A) Total Basal Area over 65 ft2 under 65 ft2
B) Percent pine BA of total greater than 25% less than 25%
C) Average merchantable pine age middle-aged less than 5 years old or closer than 5 years to harvest
D) Pine grouwth rate/crown size medium to fast / greater than 1/3 live crown less than 20% live crown
E) Amount of advanced pine regeneration greater than 1 inch in diameter less than 75 stems
Decision 1: If all items (A E) in the harvest and regenerate (right) column are true for your stand, completely harvest and replant, provide competition control and expect to use pine release. Once pines are large enough, use periodic prescribed burns.
Decision 2: If conditions B and E in the manage existing stand (left) column are true for your stand, advanced and natural regeneration can be used to help regenerate the site as harvest approaches, or unevenaged or group management can be used.
Decision 3: If conditions A D in the manage existing stand column are true for your stand, use prescribed fire and TSI to push the stand back to pine domination.
Decision 4: Do nothing regardless of stand conditions. Stand risks, productivity losses and monetary losses can be great.

Intermediate-aged Stand Management: Middle-age Crisis

Kim D. Coder
Professor, Silvics/Ecology
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Many forest stands in Georgia suffer from three common problems of middleaged forests: Poor management, if any at all; no planning for regeneration; and stands that are too dense. Losses from midrotation management problems can offset the most careful regeneration efforts. Planting trees and then forgetting them is neither prudent nor careful management and lost income dollars is the penalty.

This section concentrates on production pine forestry: Water, wildlife, aesthetics, recreation and other tree species can all be included in viable management objectives. Professional foresters can help you set and meet goals and objectives for your land. Productive combinations using all of the land's resources can pay large rewards.

What is Intermediate-aged Management?

Intermediateaged stand management is organizing costeffective forestry practices to ensure continued productivity while minimizing risks. Intermediateaged forests are between five years old and harvest. The harvest/regeneration period in forest management is important but can be less than 20 percent of the whole rotation period.

For example, harvest/regeneration may account for five of 35 years that a forest stand grows or 14 percent of the life of the stand. The harvest/ regeneration period is critical to economic returns, but you cannot neglect the 80 percent or more of a stand's life between harvests.

Intermediate aged stand management involves manipulating tree crowns which are the leaves and supporting branches that provide nutrients for growth. Without a healthy crown to make food, you have no tree trunk (the product you sell). Forestry is crown management.

Trees make food by capturing sunlight in their leaves. Energy from sunlight is used to produce food from air and water. Trees that cannot capture enough sunlight will decline and die. Foresters manage tree food production to make wood. The more food produced, the more wood produced.

Every site where trees grow receives about the same amount of sunlight, but only a certain amount of the sun s energy is available for conversion into tree food.

Several factors prevent a tree from fully converting available light energy into food: the species of tree and type of leaves present, soil problems, water problems, pest and damage problems and competition for resources from other plants and trees.

Since there is a limited amount of sunlight and other resources available for tree growth on a site, you need to decide which trees should be favored. Favoring trees with rapid, highquality growth, few risks and a great market potential will be profitable. Allowing poor trees with no economic value to live keeps the good trees from using that energy to grow.

To maximize economic returns, trees must grow as big as they can in the shortest amount of time. You must concentrate any energy captured and other site resources onto a few "crop" trees and eliminate the rest of the trees. The energy and site resources can be divided over thousands of trees or concentrated onto the few crop trees that will make you money. Ensure that crop trees fatten their trunks by keeping their crowns large and by controlling competition.
Intermediate-aged stand treatments keep the best crop trees growing fast and big. Trees must have large crowns to make food and to respond well to stand treatments.

Unmanaged Stands

To understand the effects of intermediate-aged stand treatments, we can observe what happens in unmanaged stands. Unmanaged stands are planted or naturally regenerated with 700 to 2500 seedlings per acre. When established, the stand is healthy, but as the trees grow, problems occur. Each tree fights for its place in the sun with neighboring trees. Each tree must also compete with woody (hardwood) and herbaceous weeds. Competition for the limited resources of the site is intense.

Tree crowns expand and grow and trees with the tallest crowns collect more of the site resources and grow taller. The tallest trees may be pines or hardwoods. As taller, bigger trees continue to capture more of the site resources, the smaller trees get less of the resources and begin to decline and die.

Tree crowns are soon deeply overlapping each other and shading their own lower branches. When one branch cannot make enough food for itself, it is sealed off and dies in a process known as selfpruning. Heavy crown competition eliminates many lower branches.

The unmanaged forest becomes thick with pine and hardwood trees. As the trees lose many of their lower limbs, the length of their live crown shrinks. Live crown ratio is the length of the main trunk where all the living branches are connected, divided by the total height of the tree. For example, a tree 100 feet tall with a living crown length of 40 feet would have a live crown ratio of 40 percent. Live crown ratio is a measure used to determine competition. The larger the living crown, the more food the tree can make and the bigger it can grow. Tree mortality accelerates when the live crown ratio reaches 20 percent.

With competition, many trees make only enough food to grow slowly and are quickly overtopped by neighboring trees. Overtopped trees make even less food and further decline. Death of overtopped trees is the common result of site competition.

Trees that are completely overtopped and no longer growing are "suppressed" trees. Suppressed trees survive for a time, but eventually die. When a suppressed trees dies, the resources used to make its food and grow its wood are wasted. Those same resources could have been used to help a crop tree get bigger. Instead, the wasted resources become termite food and potential income dollars rot on the forest floor.

Remaining trees in the unmanaged forest continue to grow. The forest site is now carrying its maximum amount of tree crown area with few places where an extra leaf could be placed. Every tree is using a lot of food to maintain itself and to compete with its neighbors. There are many stems, each with a small crown. Each tree's potential growth is limited by the resources it can capture. The total resources of the site are divided to keep thousands of stems alive.

Some trees are more successful than others at competing for resources. As a few trees capture more of the limited resources, smaller trees begin to decline and die at a faster rate. This rate is the natural mortality of the stand. The remaining trees develop smaller and smaller crowns producing less food. These weakened, slowgrowing trees are more prone to environmental stress and pest attacks. Pests such as Southern pine beetles remove competition-weakened trees, sometimes a whole stand at a time.

In an unmanaged stand of trees, a majority of the site resources are wasted upon trees that die before their value can be harvested. This is not productive forestry.

Managed Stands

The preceding scenario is what can happen in unmanaged stands or managed stands allowed to go "wild." Doing nothing in a forest stand is always an option, but often is the least costeffective and highest risk option available. Active intermediate stand management can be used to minimize problems and maximize returns.
Intermediate stand management techniques or treatments include release, thinning, timber stand improvement (TSI), pruning, fertilization, pest management and prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is a lowcost and effective tool for controlling competition. See the section on prescribed burning for more information.

Forest treatments must always meet this criteria: The cost of the treatment must be less than its benefit at harvest, adjusted for time's effect on money. In other words, a treatment must generate product value greater than the cost of the treatment, plus interest, carried over the rest of the rotation period.

Pine Release

Pine release gets the newly-established stand of pines off to a fast start. Competition is removed by cutting or chemicals in spots around crop trees or in strips along the planted rows. Treatments also can be broadcast over the entire forest stand. Release treatments should not be confused with herbaceous weed control used to establish the stand.

Release pines by eliminating brush, hardwood sprouts and any tree overtopping or directly competing with a crop pine. Try to eliminate direct competition from neighboring weeds in an area equal in diameter to half the height of the young pine. Do not allow any weeds to shade the pines.

When a stand is young, competing woody weeds (trees, shrubs, and vines) prevent the pines from capturing all the site resources needed for best growth. Depending upon harvest, site preparation and establishment procedures, many pine stands under five years of age may require release from competition. All the released site resources can then be concentrated into rapid pine growth. Waiting too long to release pines from competition leads to increased mortality, pest problems and lost growth, all of which cost you dollars.

Herbicide treatments across a site are becoming a costeffective method of ensuring fast, early growth in pines. Aerial, ground spray, singletree injection and spot gun application procedures can be prescribed by a forester to meet your objectives and site conditions.

Mechanical cutting around crop pines is possible on small plots, but is not costeffective over large areas. Do not treat every pine. Release only those pines that are healthy, have a large crown and are well spaced across a site. The number of crop trees for final harvest ranges from 50 to 250 trees per acre, depending upon your objectives. Do not waste time with pines that will obviously be suppressed and die in the future. Individually treat only crop trees.

Pine release allows pines to grow above their competition and then control the site. Strive for 250 or fewer freetogrow crop trees per acre. Pine release is not always needed. As a rule of thumb, release pine when onethird or more of the current stand is hardwoods. Use of prescribed fire to release young pines is risky and still experimental, so do not use fire for pine release. Also protect young stands from wildfire with fire breaks.

Precommercial Thinning

Precommercial thinning is an expensive and intensive practice to save potentially valuable stands from stagnation and pest problems. It is more rarely used to select crop trees at an early age. See the section on Renovating Poor Pine Stands for more information.

Precommercial thinning removes unsaleable young stems to provide less competition and more site resources to remaining stems. Whole stands of young pines can be lost to overstocking and growth stagnation without treatment. Even under lowcost management, a precommercial thinning may be the only viable option in an overstocked stand.

With natural regeneration, it is not uncommon to have 5,000 or more seedlings per acre. If a site has more than 3,000 seedlings per acre, consider precommercial thinning. Precommercial thinning is most cost effective when completed within five years of establishment because equipment such as disks, choppers or brush mowers can be used. Larger trees may require a chainsaw crew to walk the site. When mowing or chopping, leave thin rows of seedlings standing with variable width- cleared strips between the rows. Leave 300 to 500 freetogrow stems per acre. Establish and leave strips of trees in only one direction. Do not mow or chop in a grid to select for single trees.

Commercial Thinning

Commercial thinning is the most widely used method of concentrating site resources onto crop trees. Thinning stands to extract pulpwood or other products can pay many benefits. Thinning brings immediate monetary returns, allows each remaining tree to grow faster, saves site resources that would have been lost through suppressed tree mortality, improves crop tree survival and reduces some types of pest risks to the stand.

Thinning allows each crop tree to develop and maintain a large crown. Thinning removes trees that are site resource wasters (declining, suppressed, deformed, cankered, crooked and limby trees). Thinning helps to increase log grade (quality) on a forest wide basis, increase windfirmness and can shorten the rotation (time to harvest). Thinning improves returns and reduces risks.

The principle of thinning is to take out trees that will not be crop trees because of growth rate, position or quality. Resources released can then be utilized by crop trees. After a thinning, the remaining trees will continue to grow until they again fully occupy the site.

Caution: Thinning stands by removing the best trees leads to longterm stand damage and productivity losses. This destructive process is called highgrading. As the best trees are taken, only the crooked, slow-growing and pestinfested trees survive to reproduce. Highgrading is the worst treatment you can give a forest.
Short rotation (15 to 25 years) stands used primarily for pulpwood should not be thinned after midrotation age. Fiber yield in short rotation is the objective and proper spacing control at establishment maximizes fiber yield and eliminates the need for thinning. Sawlog or long rotation (35 years or more) stands can be thinned several times beginning at age 10 to 15 years.

There are three common thinning methods for pine stands: row, strip and selective. Each thinning method must be tailored to meet your objectives and the characteristics of the stand and site.

Row Thinning

Row thinning is used in pine plantations where trees are planted in rows. Thinning removes every third, fourth or fifth row. Usually no quality selections are made. Every tree in a given row is removed, and in dense stands, poorgrowing trees in the remaining rows can also be cut. Planting trees to leave at least 12 feet between rows allows operation of a thinning vehicle or skidder. Row thinning is a fast way to reduce the number of stems per acre.

Strip Thinning

Strip thinning is used in natural stands where rows are not evident or in plantations where thinning cannot follow the established rows. All the trees in a strip of a certain width are removed. Strips should run along land contours and be wide enough to allow for necessary machinery.

Selective Thinning

Selective thinning leaves the best crop trees for further growth by removing competing trees. Selective thinning helps control spacing and crop tree growth but can result in extensive damage to remaining trees. Residual tree damage can more than offset any advantages of selective thinning. Also, selective thinning requires a great deal of planning, marking and supervision to ensure a proper job is done.

A combination of row or strip and selective thinning is often the best practice. A large number of stems can be quickly eliminated while the best crop trees are selected. Start thinning once the trees removed can be sold (10 to 15 years). Once thinning is started in a stand, continue to thin every 6 to 12 years depending upon tree growth rates and markets for the thinned wood.

Basal area values, which are easily measured approximations of living crown area, can simplify thinning decisions. When stands reach 100 square feet of basal area, thin back to 60 square feet of basal area. Keep the stand between these two target basal areas. See the glossary for an explanation of how to measure basal area.
Another important consideration in thinning is designing and building haul routes and roads. Poorly placed, marked or installed roadways can cause significant stand damage, as can thinning when the soil is wet.

Tables 6 and 7 can help you visualize thinning practices using the number of crop trees per acre and the amount of space left between each crop tree. According to Table 6, if trees in your stand of pines average 11 inches in diameter and the basal area (BA) is 100 ft2, then the number of trees you want to grow per acre is 152. According to Table 7, the distance you should allow between each crop tree is 17 feet. This information can help you plan thinning or TSI activities and help you decide the number of trees per acre to remove in thinning.

Table 6. Number of trees per acre, by average stand DBH and basal area.

Average Diameter (DBH in inches)
BA (ft2) 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
50 367 255 187 143 113 92 76 64 54 47 41 36 32 28 25 23
60 440 306 224 172 136 110 91 76 65 56 49 43 38 34 30 28
70 513 357 262 201 158 128 106 89 76 65 57 50 44 40 36 32
80 587 408 299 229 181 147 121 102 87 75 65 57 51 45 41 37
90 660 458 337 258 204 165 136 115 98 84 73 64 57 51 46 41
100 733 509 374 286 226 183 152 127 108 94 81 72 63 57 51 46
110 806 560 412 315 250 202 167 140 119 103 90 79 70 62 56 50
Table 7. Spacing in feet between trees.
Trees/acre Feet between trees Trees/acre Feet between trees
1742 5 194 15
1210 6 170 16
889 7 151 17
681 8 134 18
538 9 121 19
436 10 109 20
360 11 70 25
302 12 48 30
258 13 36 35
222 14 27 40
If you thin the stand in the above example back to 60 ft2 BA, 91 trees per acre about 20 feet apart would remain. You would harvest 61 11inch DBH trees (152 91 ~ 61). If 91 trees continue to grow and there is no mortality, thinning will be needed for this stand when the average diameter reaches 15 inches at 110 ft2 BA.
Remember, these values are for perfect stands with perfect trees and no pests or natural disasters; so this is only a rough guide to help visualize a thinning process. Seek professional assistance from a forester before thinning your stand. Stand survival, productivity, stocking, stem size and site variability are constant in these tables. Actual thinning should be planned from yield tables and stocking guides with landowner objectives in mind.

Timber Stand Improvement

Timber stand improvement (TSI) controls competition by removing unwanted species and poor quality individuals of the crop species. TSI is usually done with a thinning treatment. TSI cleans the forest of the unwanted stems that steal site resources from crop trees. TSI is critical for preventing natural stand conversion to other species and minimizing potential release problems in older or soontobe harvested stands. Hardwoods that sprout profusely can be cut out when the pines will shade the stump. Crooked, damaged, suppressed and declining pines can also be eliminated.


Pruning is a very expensive, labor-machinery intensive treatment for removing lower branch stubs early in a sawtimber rotation after the living crown has receded up the stem. Consider pruning only where there is a significant dollar premium paid for high quality, clear logs. Pruning is not a usual forest management practice, but some landowners like to prune their trees.

Costeffective pruning requires that you make only one pass through the stand. Prune only the final crop trees (70 to 100 trees per acre). Prune branches and branch stubs up to 17 to 18 feet from the ground to clear the length of one full log. Do not prune living branches that would leave the tree less than a 50 percent live crown ratio. Do not prune after midrotation.


Fertilizing forests is usually not costeffective. Fertilization should be used to offset essential element shortages on better sites with basal areas of 70 to 100 square feet. Do not fertilize poor sites or overstocked stands. Soil and foliage testing is required to determine which essential elements are in short supply.
Vegetation control is required before treatment to ensure that only crop pines receive benefits from the fertilizer. Apply herbicide, cut weeds or prescribe burn only competing herbaceous and woody vegetation at least six months prior to fertilization. TSI and thinning can also be done. Do not use prescribed fire for at least five years after fertilization and do not fertilize under dry or drought conditions.

Waterlogged or low pH soils may lack available phosphorus. The addition of 50 pounds of phosphorus per acre, if other site problems are not limiting, can produce growth benefits. Site index at age 25 can be increased 10 feet by fertilizing typical, poorly-drained soils in the lower Coastal Plain during establishment.
In most areas, nitrogen is a limiting soil factor. On highly productive sites, nitrogen fertilizer can be added at 150 pounds/acre, but it is relatively expensive. All other growth factors must be good for best results. Allow 7 to 10 years after application to determine the full effect on growth rates.

Alternative fertilizers such as sewage effluent, sewage sludge and solid and liquid animal waste can be used, but transportation and application methods of these materials can be costly and water quality problems must be closely monitored. A legume nurse crop such as clover can be used to improve nitrogen levels. Careful cost/benefit analysis is required before any fertilizer treatment is used.

Pest Problems

There are several pests to be aware of when working with young and middleaged stands. Annosus root rot can be a serious problem after thinning in some areas. This fungal disease infects pines on welldrained sandy soils, with some deep sandy soils having severe problems. The fungus colonizes cut stumps after thinning operations and then infects standing trees. Infected trees die over a two to fiveyear period. It is possible to lose 20 percent or more of the remaining stand after a thinning.

Thin areas prone to Annosus only in summer. Every cut stump needs to be sprinkled with borax powder. Another treatment is a powder that contains another type of stump infecting fungi. This fungi does not effect standing trees but prevents Annosus from colonizing the stump. The borax or the fungi treatment must be put on the cut stumps at the time of harvest. Stands with Annosus should be thinned and treated frequently to salvage trees that will die without thinning.

Another severe problem in some areas is the infection of young stands with fusiform rust fungi which produces growing cankers that cause major trunk faults and degrade the wood product. If a young stand has less than 25 percent of the trees infected with fusiform rust, remove those trees during thinning and carry the stand to harvest.

Southern pine beetle is a major pest of overstocked trees on poor sites. Thinned, fastgrowing stands are less susceptible to attack.
Winter thinning minimizes beetle problems because the beetles are not as active in the winter. In years of beetle epidemics, you should not harvest pines or execute any forest activities that injure them.

Taking care of your forest after establishment can minimize your management risks and maximize your returns. Do not regenerate your timberland and forget it!

Sustained Pine Management

Kim D. Coder
Associate Professor
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Uneven-aged pine management is an alternative method of utilizing forest productivity for the small landowner because it is less capitalintensive than some traditional pine management systems. Uneven-aged forests have pines of many sizes in three or more age classes. This size and age distribution is common in many natural forests. Uneven-age pine management can be a sustainable system.

What is Uneven-aged Pine Management?

Even-aged forests or plantations have a single reproductive or planting period, so the trees are the same age. Uneven-aged forests have distinct age groups produced by several bursts of reproduction. Under uneven-aged conditions, the current growth of the forest is harvested periodically. Uneven-aged harvest cuts remove the volume of merchantable trees equal to the growth of the whole stand. This cutting technique is similar to having a savings account (the forest) where you periodically remove only the interest (growth), never touching the principal (growing stock).

An uneven-aged forest can be composed in two ways. The first is made by single trees of various ages growing together. There may be three or more age groups among the trees.

The second way uneven-aged forests can be composed is by small groups or clumps of even-aged trees with each group a different age and with the groups intermixed over the forest. The forest will have a mosaic pattern of small, even-aged groups of trees with each group representing a different reproductive period. Several even-aged groups of trees may occupy nearly the same space in the forest. For example, a group of 5yearold pines can be in the understory of 20yearold pines.

Even-aged forest management requires harvesting all the trees at the same rotation age. With uneven-aged management, the rotation age is replaced by a cutting cycle which is the interval between major harvesting and thinning operations in the same stand. Because the trees and stands are mixed in age, there is no beginning or end of a single stand. Cutting operations continue on periodic cycles with individual trees or groups of trees harvested.

Periodic vegetation control in uneven-aged stands is important. Although some understory growth is controlled by shading from the pines, hardwoods must be removed periodically or natural succession will lead to a mixed hardwood/pine forest. Hardwoods can be effectively controlled by herbicides, fire or cutting. Timing prescribed fire so that pine reproduction is beyond danger is critical to good vegetation control. Generally, pines must be at least 3 inches in diameter (seven to nine years old) to be fire resistant.

Benefits of Uneven-aged Pine Management

Uneven-aged pine management produces a large return of benefits from a forested site by integrating biological and economic management considerations. Some advantages of uneven-aged pine management are:
  1. Small pines (future crop trees) continuously grow into the canopy.
  2. There is a sustained yield of products.
  3. Cash flow is relatively constant and can have income tax benefits.
  4. The forest is never completely harvested.
  5. Any site openings are of short duration.
  6. Slash from any harvesting is light, scattered and hidden in the understory.
  7. There is less potential risk and damage from wildfire, ice storms, diseases, insects and soil erosion.
  8. The forest provides continuous recreational and wildlife resources.
  9. Trees have reduced wind throw problems.
  10. Many weed (hardwood) trees have a difficult time growing in the understory.
  11. A forester has the ability to adjust harvesting to meet current market demands.

Main Features

The four main features of uneven-aged management are volume control, diameter distribution control by a cutting cycle, species composition and harvest economics.

Volume Control

The purpose of uneven-aged management is to grow pines rapidly and to periodically cut out the volume equal to the growth of the entire stand. Inventory the volume of growing stock just before a harvest cut, while marking the stand for cutting. The volume harvested from each diameter class is then subtracted from the preharvest inventory to yield afterharvest growing stock volume.

Harvest cuts can be heavy or light, and can reduce or build up growing stock. Heavy cutting can destroy growing stock and lead to a decline in forest productivity. How often you harvest depends upon the volume of growing stock present. You can cut the amount of growth that is occurring over time and provide growing space by thinning (Figure 3).

Figure 3.

Figure 3. Distribution of diameters in an uneven-aged stand and potential harvest.

Diameter Distribution Control By Cutting

Keeping all sizes of trees growing is essential in uneven-aged management. You need a constant progression of rapidly growing pines to support a cutting cycle, because large trees are harvested and replaced by smaller trees from below. Cuttings must be made in all diameter classes to promote rapid stand growth and development. As mature trees are harvested, young stems are thinned to develop future crop trees. Stands must be carefully marked and cutting supervised to prevent highgrading.

The length of the cutting cycle affects the amount of timber harvested at any one time, the volume of the growing stock remaining and the site resources avail able for pine reproduction. The longer the cutting cycle is, the greater the percentage of total volume that must be taken with each harvest. Long cutting cycles lead to even-aged stands (Table 8), and short cutting cycles maintain uneven-aged stands.

Table 8. Percent of forest volume to be harvested based upon growth rate and cutting cycle length. Stand growth rate can be estimated from sampling annual ring widths of several crop trees and determining volume growth.

Stand growth rate (percent)
Cutting cycle (years) 3 5 7 9
1 3 5 7 9
3 8 14 18 23
5 14 22 29 35
7 19 29 38 45
10 26 39 49 58
15 36 52 64 73
For example, if your stand of trees is growing at five percent and you are going to use a five-year cutting cycle, then you must harvest 22 percent of the stand volume to maintain the same stocking level for each harvest. Marketable pines over the whole forest will need to be harvested once every five years.

Leaving too many trees after harvest decreases value and volume growth because of overstocking. Leaving too few trees fails to utilize the productivity of the site. Know the growth rate of your pines and adjust the length of the cutting cycle to maintain a highly productive stocking level for each site.

The length of the cutting cycle is the most important variable in uneven-aged management. For southern pines, shorter cycles (four to eight years) are best. Periodic removal of suppressed, declining, dying and dead pines will concentrate forest productivity onto crop trees.

Species Composition

Southern pines can be reproduced after single tree and small group cutting and can be sustainably managed in uneven-aged forests. Plant genetically improved trees in large open areas and spots with full sunlight to supplement natural regeneration and improve stand productivity. Eliminate hardwoods in uneven-aged stands by prescribed burning just before harvest. Herbicide injections or sprays also can be used to control hardwood competition. Harvest and market hardwoods when possible. Do not damage the advanced pine regeneration. Treat stumps with herbicides to prevent resprouting.

Harvest Economics

The higher site index (expected stand height at 25 years of age) the more rapid stands grow and the shorter the cutting cycle can be. Plan to remove enough timber volume to make logging economically practical. The timber market price, technical costs of developing a sale, access problems and management costs all affect the size of harvest required and the cutting cycle.

Management Problems

Specific concerns associated with uneven-aged management are:

Cutting cycle length

This is the most important decision. For a given cutting cycle, site quality and management objectives will determine a level of growing stock that produces the best returns. A cutting cycle is set to ensure that the productive capacity of a site is fully utilized.

Silviculture knowledge

A thorough knowledge of forest management is needed to apply uneven-aged silviculture effectively. There are many decisions to be made on individual pines and group treatments, on optimum growing conditions and on maximizing financial returns. Uneven-aged management requires careful and continual attention.

Economic returns

Financial considerations should guide all aspects of forest management. The length of the cutting cycle, the amount of growing stock remaining and the individual trees that are taken or left in any cutting operation will affect economic returns. Tax treatment must also be considered.

Residual stand damage

Stands can become progressively less productive after sloppy or poorly-executed harvests. Logging operations must be carefully conducted and supervised to prevent damage to remaining trees. Pest problems, decay and product defect will be greatly magnified by residual stand damage. A written contract defining proper stand treatment and penalties for mistreatment is essential. Over the longrun, frequent harvesting can also lead to soil problems such as erosion and compaction, causing productivity to decline.

Inventory data

Keep a close watch on product volume and growth rate. Record stand volume and diameter distribution and the volume cut in each diameter class before each harvest. Record keeping is critical.


Uneven-aged management is simple in general outline and ecological theory, but may be challenging to apply effectively. With proper uneven-aged management techniques, small landowners can enjoy the economic benefits of almost continuous forest returns while maintaining forest cover. Uneven-aged pine management may have a place in your forest.

Prescribed Fire

David J. Moorhead
Professor, Silviculture
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Fire, when properly used, is an effective tool for managing southern pine forests. Southern pine species are well adapted to the use of fire for regeneration, control of competition Other benefits of burning, such as habitat management, reduction of fuels, improving appearance and access, can be observed in stands where the owners regularly apply fire.

Burning under controlled conditions and for a particular purpose is called prescribed burning. A prescribed fire is used to accomplish one or more objectives and is managed according to pre-determined conditions to achieve these objectives. Prescribed burns conducted under controlled conditions and with due consideration to impact on other forest resources is a valuable forest management tool.

The pine forests early settlers found existed because of periodic burns started by lighting strikes and Indians who previously inhabited the forest. When burning is stopped and pine forests are cut, natural succession replaces many sites with shade-tolerant hardwoods. This is particularly true in Georgia's Piedmont and on better sites in the Upper Coastal Plains. To maintain pine forests, succession can be managed with regular prescribed burning. The bark of southern pines protects the living tissue inside from the heat of a fire, but this is not true with many other tree species. For this reason, fire is not normally recommended when managing hardwood forests.

Reasons for Burning

Prescribed burning is usually the least expensive way to achieve the following forest management objectives:

Hazard Reduction

The accumulation of litter and brush in unburned forest stands is fuel waiting to burn, either in a controlled manner or in a wildfire. Periodic prescribed burning of these stands can essentially fireproof them, reducing the likelihood of significant value losses in the event of a wildfire.

Hardwood Control

Low-valued, poor-quality hardwoods and shrub species invade many pine forests, competing with the pines for available space, moisture and essential elements and preventing successful pine regeneration. A series of prescribed fires is effective in managing this competition.

Site Preparation

Pines require bare soil and full sunlight to regenerate and grow. Fire can help provide these conditions for natural regeneration. Fire is also important in reducing logging or site preparation debris that can restrict access for tree planning. A series of pre-harvest burns also reduce site preparation costs.

Wildlife Habitat Management

Fire can improve or damage habitat for a number of game and non-game species. Benefits include increased forage production and browse availability. Fire can also reduce escape cover and damage certain mast- and fruit-producing trees and shrubs.

Disease Control

Prescribed burning is the only practical control for brown spot needle blight of longleaf pine seedlings. There also seems to be less incidence of Annosus root rot in stands that have been burned.

Improved Accessibility

The control or removal of excess brush with prescribed burning improves accessibility and visibility. This is beneficial whether you are walking in the woods, cruising and marking timber, improving "curb appeal" for a sale or ensuring the logger has no excuse for a poor harvest.

Planning the Burn

Planning for a prescribed burn should be done well in advance to ensure success. Aerial photos are very helpful and can be obtained through the county offices of the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), or Tax Assessor's office. Highway maps are useful to locate smoke sensitive areas near your property. Visit with the local Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) ranger to review locations of smoke sensitive areas in the county and ask for their advice on your prescribed fire program. A burning permit is required for each burn that you conduct. Permits are issued free of charge by your GFC county office. The GFC also provides important daily weather information for planning your burns. The GFC weather reports are available through the local county office, district offices and on the GFC web site at

Select Area and Objective

Select areas that will benefit from prescribed burning and set priorities. Reducing fuel in precommercial stands is typically a high priority. Pre-harvest site preparation burning should also be considered in merchantable stands.

Determine Site Conditions

When selecting an area for burning, determine the conditions that will affect the burn and the results desired. Consider tree height and the relative amount of fuel and its type, such as leaves and scattered hardwoods or thick undergrowth and heavy pine straw. Hardwood leaves are often difficult to burn and special precautions are necessary when burning heavy "roughs" of pine straw.

Locate Firebreaks

Firebreaks should be located where fuel and stand conditions change. Firebreak location should be designated before plowing and coordinated with roads and other natural barriers. County Forestry Commission units will plow firebreaks for a nominal fee.

Determine Smoke Sensitive Areas

If recommendations are followed and weather conditions are observed, most prescribed burning will not create smoke problems. Failure to consider smoke production and dispersion, however, can turn the least expensive forest management tool into the most costly. Deaths have resulted from impaired highway visibility due to smoke from prescribed forest fires. Such problems and the subsequent legal costs can make a poorly- planned and executed fire very costly.

Land managers should determine if there are any smoke-sensitive areas near the burn. These are areas where reduced visibility or smoke irritation to livestock and humans could cause material loss and suffering. Smoke-sensitive areas include airports, heavily traveled highways, resorts or recreation areas, schools, hospitals, factories, stock barns, holding pens and neighborhoods.

Avoid burning if a smoke-sensitive area is downwind or down drainage (smoke often flows like water when it settles at night). If the burn must be conducted, take necessary precautions such as placing signs on the highway and making arrangements with persons likely to be affected by the burn. It is common courtesy to inform adjacent landowners of your intentions prior to the burn and again the day of the fire. Problems can often be avoided with these simple precautions:

Weather Factors

Because weather conditions are more predictable and stable during the winter, winter burning is preferred by most burners and is certainly advisable to novices. Weather factors to consider are temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity and fuel-moisture.

Following a cold front, a steady northerly wind can often be counted on to give the fire direction and to dissipate heat and smoke. The afternoon relative humidity should be 30 to 50 percent for most burning. When humidity is lower, burning is dangerous. To have an effective burn, the forest litter should feel dry but the soil beneath should be damp.

Follow radio and television forecasts for predicted fronts and suitable weather and confirm weather forecasts with your local Forestry Commission office the morning of the planned burn. According to Georgia law, the Commission must be notified and a permit obtained before burning.

With a steady wind of 4 to 10 mph, a backing fire that burns into the wind is usually best. This is particularly true if the area has not been burned in the past few years. Remember that for stand maintenance, one fire will not do a complete job.

Areas typically should be burned every three to five years.


It is impossible for a forest manager to know too much about prescribed burning. This brief discussion is only a beginning. For more information on prescribed burning, check with your county Extension agent.

Winning with Herbicides

David J. Moorhead
Professor, Silviculture
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

The use of herbicides for vegetation control in forestry has become well established in recent years. The development of more effective herbicides and application equipment has increased the of this forest management tool. Vegetation control studies show that economically-significant growth and improved survival are possible when woody and herbaceous competition is controlled.

Herbicide Use

Herbicides are used for herbaceous release of newly-established seedlings, woody release of young trees and for site preparation to establish a new stand of trees.
Most cut-over areas require some type of site preparation or release for successful plantation establishment. Vegetation control can also be of value when maintaining natural stands of pines or pine/hardwood mixtures. When pines are planted on old field sites, herbaceous weeds can significantly retard growth and reduce pine survival if not controlled.

In many situations, competing vegetation can best be controlled with herbicides. Mechanical control is not possible in many instances because high costs, short term control and site damage are often disadvantages.

What Are Herbicides?

Herbicides are chemicals that suppress or kill certain plant growth. They affect plants by disrupting some internal growth or development function. Most herbicides do not affect humans and animals since our growth and development are different from that of plants. Thus, forest herbicides are considered safe when specific label directions are followed.

Safety And Environmental Protection

Be careful when handling concentrated herbicides to protect eyes, internal tissue and sensitive skin. Many herbicides are formulated in common petroleum or alcohol-type carriers that may cause severe irritation or tissue damage. At a minimum, wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, plastic or neoprene gloves and some type of eye protection. Follow specific label requirements for protective clothing and equipment that may be required.

After being tested and approved, herbicides are registered for forestry uses by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Division. More than one herbicide and application method may be registered for use on the same site. Choose the herbicide or combination that will most effectively and economically control the targeted plants. Applying herbicides not registered or for uses not indicated on the label is illegal and they may not do the job intended or may cause adverse effects to non-targeted species or the environment.

Always read the label before using any herbicide.

Get copies of the label(s) and the "Material Safety Data Sheet(s)" (MSDS) in advance for planning your herbicide application. These are available from suppliers and manufactures. Also get information on endangered species for there may be restrictions on the use of certain materials in your area. Then, read and carefully follow information on the label and MSDS for a safe, effective herbicide application.

The laws require that applicators be certified as competent before they can purchase or apply "restricted use" pesticides, but it is suggested that applicators of any pesticide be certified. The certification process will add to your knowledge about herbicide safety and attest to your competency. Applicators for hire must be certified before they use any pesticide and they must have a pesticide contractor's license and sufficient liability insurance.

Forest Weeds

Forest weeds are unwanted vegetation that compete or interfere with timber and other resource management objectives. The weeds can be obstacles to regeneration, crop development and growth as they compete for moisture, nutrients and light. They are classified as weed trees, brush, vines and herbaceous weeds (broadleaf weeds and grasses).

Herbaceous Weed Control in Newly Planted Pines

There are many advantages to using herbicides in newly-planted pines. However, one must be cautious and not believe that what works for one landowner will also work for all landowners. It is important that a thorough evaluation of each site be made before the selection and application of a herbicide treatment is made.

Site Evaluation

Soil Type
Soil type influences the effective performance of a herbicide. If the soil is high in clay, a higher rate of a herbicide (within the recommended rate range) is more effective because herbicides have a tendency to be readily adsorbed to or tied-up by clay particles, making the herbicide less available for weed kill. Herbicides applied to clay soils will not readily leach or volatilize. If the soil is high in sand, a lower rate of a herbicide (within the recommended rate range) is more effective. Because herbicides applied to sandy soils are not readily tied up, they will effectively kill the weeds. However, herbicides applied to sandy soils can be easily leached and volatilized, making long-term weed control more difficult.
Weed Species
Since selectivity of plants to herbicides is an important factor in good weed control, the weed species must be properly identified to allow the selection and application of an effective herbicide. If the weed species is not on the herbicide label, the weeds will not be killed.

Pine Species

There are several pine species, so it is important that the herbicide you use is recommended for the pine species you have planted. Some pine species have good tolerance to a herbicide while others will not tolerate the herbicide toxicity.

Climatic Conditions

Climatic conditions such as rainfall and temperatures are critical to the performance of a herbicide. Under normal conditions, adequate moisture and warm temperatures allow better herbicide uptake and foliar absorption, resulting in better weed kill. If temperatures are too cool (below 50°F), herbicide uptake by roots and leaves will be greatly reduced. If soil moisture is limited (< 40 to 50 percent of filed capacity), plants are stressed, causing poor herbicide uptake and creating a condition for potential pine tree damage. Before a herbicide is applied it is important that soil moisture and temperature are adequate.

Herbicide Selection

There are a limited number of herbicides registered for use in newly-planted pines. The selection of a herbicide must be based on the weeds present or expected. If the herbicide has only preemergence activity, it must be applied to the soil before weeds begin to emerge. If the herbicide has both preemergence and postemergence activity, it may be applied after weeds emerge but before they get too large (not over 2 to 4 inches tall). If the herbicide has only postemergence activity, it must be applied after the weeds emerge but before they get too large.

Herbicide Application

If the application and equipment calibration is not done correctly, maximum performance from the treatment will not be achieved. Therefore, it is important to use the correct volume and pressure and appropriate equipment. If a band treatment is used, the band width should correspond to the weed species. If the weed species present are of the low-growing type, such as grasses (except Bermuda), a 3- to 4-foot band is adequate. If weed species are of the tall-growing type, a 5- to 6-foot band is needed.

There are various herbicides registered for use in newly-planted pines. Your local county extension office has a listing of currently labeled forest herbicides, along with rate and application methods in the Georgia Pest Control Handbook. Each spring, forest herbicides labeled for use in Georgia are updated; check with your country extension office. These herbicides or herbicide combinations will not give 100 percent control of all weed species, but if these treatments are properly applied and conditions are favorable, adequate weed control will be obtained. It is recommended that all herbicide treatments be made during the first year of planting. Little benefit is gained if they are applied during the second or third growing season.

Control of Common Bermudagrass

Common bermudagrass is a serious weed pest in newly-planted pines. It grows vigorously from early spring to late fall and overwinters in the form of dormant stolons and seeds. It can survive at temperatures below freezing when stolons are not disturbed or uprooted.

Pines planted in fields with a severe infestation of common bermudagrass will not have adequate survival unless control measures are implemented prior to or immediately after the planting of pine seedlings. It is imperative that the weed is properly identified and a bermudagrass control strategy implemented. There are various options available for the control and supersession of common bermudagrass.

Late Summer Treatments

Approximately 30 to 45 days before the bermudagrass goes into dormancy (around September 1), mow the field to ground level. Allow the grass to reestablish a new growth of 4 to 5 inches. This will take about three weeks, depending on the availability of moisture.

At the reestablishment of the 4- to 5-inch new growth, apply Roundup or Accord at the rate of 3 to 5 quarts to the acre broadcast. Make applications when grass is not drought-stressed, with 30 to 40 gallons of water per acre and a pressure of at least 30 p.s.i. Allow the field to overwinter and burn just prior to planting trees. Burning is not necessary, but it will make planting and the application of other soil-residual herbicides more effective and provide protection from spring wildfires.
After planting pines, apply a soil-residual herbicide to prevent the reestablishment of other weed species, such as annual broadleaves and grasses.

Pine Release and Site Preparation

Woody vegetation control includes competing trees, shrubs and woody vines. This is for the release of two- to five-year-old stands of pine trees from competition or for site preparation of cut-over areas to permit the establishment of a new stand. In pine production areas, this usually means control of the less desirable hardwood species. Not all hardwoods are undesirable and need to be killed. Control only those hardwoods that interfere with the establishment or growth of more desirable trees grown for a specific purpose such as timber, wildlife food or scenic vistas.

Herbicide Application

Aerial application is generally used for site preparation before reforesting or planting seedling trees on an area. It is best used on large tracts, tracts with difficult access or tracts on which the height of the remaining trees to be controlled precludes ground application. These areas can be treated in less time and often more economically by air.

Most forest herbicides are labeled for helicopter application only. Application with fixed-wing aircraft may not be as effective and is more subject to drift.

Ground application can be done with machines that are more versatile than aircraft. The machines can treat small or large areas and are not so limited by weather as are aircraft. They are not as visible as aircraft are, so they are not as apt to arouse public attention or concern. However, ground machine application is limited by terrain and stand conditions.

Crawler tractors, skidders, four-wheel drive farm tractors and the sturdier all-terrain-vehicles can be used for herbicide application. The selection depends on the job to be done and the site conditions.

Because of the expensive, specialized equipment necessary for aerial and mechanized ground application, consulting foresters and vendors are needed for this work. Much of the vegetation control can be done by hand application. Some areas can best be treated or can only be treated using hand equipment. Hand equipment is relatively inexpensive and the application techniques are not difficult, so individual landowners, or the labor they hire, can often do the job.

Hand application methods are most often used for individual stem treatments, but you can treat entire areas for site preparation or release with crews using hand application equipment. The spot-grid application is one way to treat area. This is done with metered dosage spot-guns or other calibrated hand delivery devices that apply chemicals very accurately. Carefully-calibrated equipment is necessary because a soil-active herbicide is applied at very concentrated rates. The spots of concentrated herbicides are placed on the soil in a grid pattern throughout the area so the herbicide comes in contact with the roots of the hardwoods to be controlled. Soil spots may also be placed around individual stems if there are not enough stems present for a larger area to be treated.

If hardwood stems are not numerous and are generally less than 3 inches in diameter, a modified basal spray is an effective area treatment. This is the streamline or thin line basal treatment, and is applied with a backpack sprayer using a solid stream nozzle tip. The applicator shoots a low volume of herbicide and penetrant mixture across the base of small hardwood stems and clumps. The mixture is applied as a solid stream in one or more narrow bands 6 to 12 inches above the ground line. A slashing motion back and forth across the small hardwoods or sprout clumps is used to apply the herbicide. Spray stems 2 to 3 inches in diameter on two or more sides. Larger trees or trees with thick, rough bark will not be killed unless they are completely wet on all sides. Areas with more than a few large trees should be treated with a different method.

Use backpack sprayers to apply foliar treatments to individual hardwoods. This technique is primarily for release of 1- to 3-year-old pine plantations or natural stands. Certain herbicides are labeled for this use and will not kill the pines if properly applied. However, do not spray the pines. With a backpack sprayer and wand, apply the diluted spray solution to the foliage of competing hardwoods between full leaf and early fall. For best results and efficiency of application, hardwoods should be less than 6 feet tall. On areas with more than 500 stems per acre, other types of broadcast application or control methods are more economical. Various cut-surface treatments are effective and economical if the stems per acre are not numerous. These treatments control woody species that have passed the brush stage.

Application equipment may be a hatchet and squirt bottle or a specialized tree injection tool. A tree injector wounds the tree bark and places herbicide in the wound. The injector may be a pipe with a chisel-like bit on the lower end or a hatchet with a built-in calibrated pump.

Chisel types directed at the base of the tree are safer to use. Injections with these tools are usually spaced 1 to 4 inches apart, depending on species and chemical. Hatchet types are used at any convenient level, but be careful to prevent injury from glancing cuts. When using a hatchet and diluted herbicides, encircle the tree with overlapping cuts called frills. Chips should bot be removed, but left to help retain the herbicide in the cuts. Use herbicides formulated from water-soluble salts for all cut-surface treatments. They can be used at full strength a packaged by the manufacturer, but are diluted when used in unmetered injectors or squirt-bottles.

Hand-operated granular spreaders are used to apply soil-active herbicides. Some materials are selective and are labeled for herbaceous control over newly established pines or for woody release in older pines. Treatments are more effective when applied in the spring before full leaf-out. It is often difficult to get even distribution with hand-operated spreaders because trees and brush interrupt the herbicide distribution. The vegetation also makes it difficult for the applicators to maintain uniformly spaced, parallel treatment swaths.

Opportunities for Fertilizing Pine Plantations

David J. Moorhead
Professor, Silviculture
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Fertilizing pine plantations has captured the attention of forest landowners across the South. While the majority of stands receiving fertilizer treatments are on forest industry lands, private nonindustrial landowners are increasingly willing to consider fertilization. Growth benefits can be gained from fertilizer applications, but a good prescription is needed to ensure economic response as growth responses can vary greatly across soil and drainage classes. Before you begin any fertilization program consider several points. First, control of herbaceous and woody competition is critical if you expect to gain the best growth from any stand. Freeing up site resources from competing vegetation allows trees to use available growing space, water and light and is an essential prerequisite. Good site preparation and herbaceous weed control are the best investments can make to maximize production. In older stands, woody competition must also be controlled before starting a fertilizer program.

Second, determine your management objectives. Are you trying to maximize fiber production in short rotations? If so, you may want to practice intensive management which includes competition control and fertilization. Do you wish to produce sawtimber in longer rotations? Here fertilizer can be applied following a thinning operation to maximize growth of the selected crop trees. Is pine straw production an option? Periodic applications of fertilizers may be needed to replace some of the nutrients removed in harvesting of pine straw.

Finally, how much can you spend to manage your stands? Applications of fertilizer and other intermediate treatments must be evaluated to fit into your cash-flow structure.

Two commonly used treatments are fertilization of phosphorus (P) deficient wet "flatwoods" sites at the time of planting, and mid-rotation application of nitrogen (N) alone or N+P. Some intensively managed industrial pine plantations are receiving multiple applications of N or N+P during the rotation in effort to maximize fiber production and reduce rotation length.

Fertilization with P on wet "flatwoods" sites is often critical to insure stand establishment and growth. This is normally done during the site preparation and bedding operation using ground rock phosphate, triple super phosphate and ordinary super phosphate. P applied at planting has a long lasting response of 15 to 20 years. Trees in young stands on many unfertilized wet sites exhibiting sparse yellow foliage and poor growth and survival may be P deficient. A foliar nutrient analyses can confirm the problem, and P can be broadcast over the stand.

Mid-rotation fertilization using N, with P in some cases has been done on a variety of sites over the years. A common practice is to fertilize with N (urea, or urea + diammonium phosphate if P is required) following a thinning operation. Today, we see N applications being made at younger ages when the tree canopies begin to close at 8 to 10 years of age. Some operations are considering multiple application of N fertilizer in short-15 year rotations to maximize pulp production. The response to N fertilization cumulates in six to eight years so the gain must be captured by thinning or harvest before natural stand mortality occurs.

Soil characteristics, foliar sampling in existing or adjacent stands and the overall foliage density and vigor are important diagnostic attributes to prescribe a fertilization program. In some cases fertilizers may make the difference if getting a stand established as in the case of P deficient wet sites, or fertilizers are being used in combination with other silvicultural treatments enhance stand growth. Good competition control must be achieved if fertilization is to be economically justified. Check with consulting, industry, state and extension foresters for specifics regarding integrating fertilization into your pine plantation management program.

Table 9. Fertilizer sources for use in forestry.

Source % N % P % K
Urea (46-0-0) 46 0 0
Ammonium Nitrate (33-0-0) 32.5 0 0
Diammonium Phosphate DAP (18-46-0) 18 20 0
Triple Super Phosphate TSP (0-46-0) 0 20 0
Ground Rock Phosphate GRP 0 11-13 0
Potassium Chloride (0-0-60) 0 0 50
Potassium Sulfate (0-0-53) (18% S) 0 0 44

Foliar Sampling

The University of Georgia (check with your county extension agent) or private labs can run foliar analyzes.

Opportunities for Intensive Pine Plantation Mangement

David J. Moorhead
Professor, Silviculture

Coleman W. Dangerfield, Jr.
Professor, Economics

Julian R. Beckwith, III
Professor, Wood Products

Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Recent research conducted at the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forest Resources demonstrated that current pine productivity of 1 to 2 cords per acre per year can be doubled or tripled through application of intensive pine plantation establishment and management practices. As a result, pine plantation productivity in Georgia can rival that of the most productive areas in the world.

Table 10. Mean Annual Increment (MAI) of total volume in ft3/ac & cords per acre for loblolly pine plantations world-wide.

Location MAI ft3/ac MAI Cds/ac Stand Age
South Africa 523 5.8 22
Brazil 442 4.9 8
Waycross, GA (flatwoods site) 420 436 9
Australia 382 4.2 16
Hawaii 371 4.1 11
S. Carolina 352 3.9 11
Waycross, GA (upland site) 348 3.8 9
Tifton, GA 317 3.5 8
Eatonton, GA 307 3.4 8
Eatonton, GA 278 3.1 8
Athens, GA 263 2.9 7
Louisiana 252 2.8 19
Most current intensive-pine-plantation management practices are aimed at short-rotation production of fiber. Intensive practices enable current 20 to 25 year pulpwood rotations to be reduced to 12 to 15 years or less while producing the same fiber volumes. Projections indicate that intensive-pine-plantation management practices could produce a sustainable level of our current annual fiber supply on 70 percent of the current land base now in forest production. Chip-n-saw and sawtimber production may be achieved by careful application of fertilizers and pruning to meet wood quality standards. Increased per acre production results in more efficient land use. Intensive management requires relatively large per acre capital investment, more management activity and more landowner choices but returns are attractive. Demand for fiber stumpage, competition among the 16 pulp/paper mills in the state results in attractive stumpage prices to the landowner.

General Concepts of Intensive Management

Intensive management is a package of treatments to enhance pine plantation production throughout an entire rotation. Key features include: Site preparation treatments and costs can vary widely depending on site conditions. On cut-over sites, combinations of mechanical and chemical treatments are usually necessary to remove debris to facilitate soil cultivation and planting operations and to control established woody competition. When residual trees and brush are present on a site following harvest, shearing, raking and spot piling may be required before subsequent treatments are applied. When debris loads are moderate to light, soil tillage treatments can be applied using tractors with "V" blades to move debris out of the planting row. Productivity on sites with soils that are compacted and/or eroded can be enhanced by soil tillage to increase available rooting volume. Combination or subsoil plows can be used to subsoil or to shatter compacted hardpans and to disk the planting row to improve soil tilth and rooting volume. Tillage treatments should be carefully placed along contours on upland sites to minimize erosion.

Bedding plows are typically used to create raised planting beds on flatwoods sites with poor surface drainage, usually after shearing and piling. Planting on beds allows newly-planted seedling roots to remain above seasonally-high standing water to increase survival and early season growth.

Herbicide treatments to control woody and herbaceous vegetation are the most important factor in accelerating pine plantation growth. Mechanical site preparation treatments may leave a site looking weed free, but seldom provides long term residual control. Herbicides are necessary to effectively reduce weed competition in intensively-managed sites. At site preparation, control of established woody vegetation is critical. Recently cut-over sites need ample time for sprouts to flush before herbicides are applied to maximize uptake by the vegetation. Most site preparation herbicide treatments are applied in early to mid summer where leaf surfaces of the hardwoods is greatest. Following treatment, the vegetation is allowed to "brown up" and then a broadcast prescribed burn is done.

Following planting, herbaceous weed control is necessary for a rooting zone free of broadleaf weeds and grasses. Treatments may be banded over the planting row or broadcast over the site. Repeat treatments are recommended in the second year. Weed development must be monitored in the stand, paying particular attention to woody sprouts or seedlings that may become established. If competing sprouts and seedlings become established, use a woody release herbicide treatment applied in mid-rotation for control.

Fertilization provides adequate nutrition during all phases of establishment and growth. Phosphorus may be deficient on wet sites as well as on some uplands. If a soil test indicates availability of less than 2 pounds of P per acre, apply 40 to 50 pounds of elemental P during site preparation or planting. Triple superphosphate, or ground rock phosphate (on acid soils) are commonly used. Phosphorus applied at planting gives a 15 to 20 year growth response averaging 50 cubic feet of volume per acre per year (assume 90 cubic feet to a standing cord).

The nitrogen demand of newly-planted seedling is low and soil reserves can usually meet seedling demands, particularly on cut-over sites that have N available through the breakdown of logging debris. If N is added at planting in the form of diammonium phosphate, broadcast herbaceous weed control treatments will reduce growth of competing vegetation.

Nitrogen demand increases in excess of site supply, as the seedlings reach age 3 to 5 years. At this time N or N + P fertilization is necessary in order to keep/promote adequate leaf (needles) surface area required for rapid growth. Broadcast applications of 175 to 200 pounds of elemental N and 25 pounds of elemental P are typically applied per acre. Urea (46-0-0) + diammonium phosphate (18-46-0; supplies 20% elemental P) are typically used in this application. Additional N is needed as tree size increases requiring fertilization to be repeated at 4 to 5 year intervals to maintain growth rates.

Site preparation, use of herbicides, and fertilization are the most important factors in an intensive management program. Other considerations include species selection with loblolly pine most commonly grown for pulp production. Slash pine is also suited for intensive management with some growers preferring slash for operations that may shift into chip-n-saw and sawtimber production. Common planting densities range from 600 to over 700 trees per acre. Thinning and pruning may be used in stands managed for solid wood products.

Some industrial operations also control insect damage, primarily Nantucket pine tip moths which feeds in the shoots of loblolly pine. While tip-moth infestations can be severe enough to cause growth loss, control requires multiple insecticide sprays during the growing season to prevent infestations from the 3 to 5 moth generations that occur through the season. Treatments on private nonindustrial sites may be cost effective in the first and second growing seasons. Once the trees reach 10 feet in height, infestation damage is minimal.

Production Scenarios

To date, most intensively managed pine plantations are set up to produce fiber on short rotations. Intensive site preparation, weed control and multiple fertilizer applications are commonly used to increase volume production on short rotations.

Pulp production

Chip-n-saw and sawtimber production may be possible by modifying treatments to produce trees with acceptable wood quality properties. Delay of initial fertilization and fertilization following thinnings in combination with pruning can produce trees with acceptable wood quality for solid wood products. Pruning is used to produce logs in short rotations that yield knot-free lumber. The goal is to develop a clear 16-foot log which requires pruning to 17 feet to allow for stump height. In order to maintain growth, a 35 to 40 percent live crown (relative to total tree height) must be maintained following pruning. The live crown is measured from the lower green branches to the top of the tree. Pruning can be done in two steps beginning at age 5 to 8 to clear the first 8 to 10 feet of bole, and then completed following the first thinning to 17 feet. Generally, 150 crop trees per acre are selected for pruning.

Chip-n-saw and Sawlog Production

Intensive Magament Costs

Relative to standard pine plantation management, intensive management costs are high. The following costs represent a short rotation pulpwood scenario established on a cut-over site. Reforestation expenses, including cost of initial site preparation, mechanical and chemical treatments, seedlings and planting, and herbaceous weed control, can be charged fully for the year incurred but receive a 10-percent investment credit and a seven-year amortization schedule to recover 95-percent of the cost. A maximum of $10,000 annually of reforestation expenses can be claimed in this category. Reforestation amounts in excess of $10,000 annually can be capitalized and carried over the length of the rotation in a timber depletion account. Costs of herbaceous weed control and fertilization treatments, subsequent to establishment can be expensed out in the year they occur when the landowner qualifies as an active participant in forest production.

Table 11. Costs of intensive management practices fora 14-year pulpwood rotation.

Year Treatment Cost($/acre)
0 Site preparation 200
1 Planting 80
1 Herbaceous weed control 50
2 Fertilization 75
2 Herbaceous weed control 50
6 Fertilization 75
10 Fertilization 75
Total 605
Because per-acre volume is increased and rotation length is decreased, attractive financial returns can be realized.

Opportunities to Reduce Costs

Many nonindustrial private landowners are interested in intensive management, but may find the high costs prohibitive. Costs can be reduced, while maintaining productivity, by careful site and stand selection. Table 12 suggests that old-field sites can be established at lower initial costs than cut-over sites. Fallow fields and marginal cropland are excellent sites to establish plantations at relatively low costs. On these sites the lack of established woody vegetation, logging debris and the ease of soil tillage treatments allow mechanical and chemical site preparation costs to be significantly reduced. Weed competition can be controlled by less costly herbaceous herbicide treatments. Often old-field sites have a moderate to high level of residual fertility resulting from past cropping activities.

Table 12. Bare land values1 in $ per acre for a 14-year intensive management rotation at three yield ranges and three pulpwood stumpage values.

Mean Annual Increment Yield Range
Stumpage value ($/cord) Low 3.1 (cords/acre/year) Medium 3.5 (cords/acre/year) High 3.0 (cords/acre/year)
Bare Land Value ($/acre)
40 452 675 860
45 656 906 1,115
50 860 1,138 1,370
Advantages of pine plantation establishment and management on old-field sites have been demonstrated in the Conservation Reserve Program, which supported establishment of pine plantations on marginal cropland. Dramatic growth increases, from use of genetically improved seedling and herbaceous weed control, have been observed in CRP plantations over old-field stands established in the 1960s and 1970s. Growth increases for 20-year unthinned loblolly pine on CRP sites, as compared to previously established old-fields from 1960-1970s, are presented in Table 13 along with financial returns in Table 14.

Table 13. Planted old-field Conservation Reserve Program pine wood-flow projections for 20-year, unthinned loblolly pine in Georgia.

Harvested Cords
Site Productivity Old Model1 New Model2 Change Percent
Low 37 46 +9 24
Medium 43 51 +8 18
High 49 56 +14 14
  1. Yield from stands planted in 1960s - 1970s.
  2. Yield from CRP stands 1985-1992.
Overall, controlling woody and herbaceous competition alone has given the greatest consistent growth responses. If you have to prioritize treatments with limited dollars to invest, be sure that an effective weed control program is implemented. Fertilization is a secondary priority, unless P is needed at planting on deficient sites. Many CRP stands can be managed using the chip-n-saw and sawlog production scenario previously described.

Table 14. Planted old-field pine financial performance projections for 20-year, unthinned loblolly pine pulpwood rotations in Georgia1. Values in parenthesis are old model estimates.

Site Productivity NPW2 ($/acre) IRR3 (%) AEV4 ($/acre/year)
Low 332 (94) 15.8 (11.3) 34 (10)
Medium 410 (147) 16.7 (12.6) 42 (15)
High 49 (209) 17.7 (13.8) 51 (21)
  1. 8% discount rate; 1986 Prices: PW = $25/cord, C-N-S = $44/cord, ST = $164/MBF (PW inflated at 3.5% per year, ST inflated at 4.0% per year); 1997 Price-equivalents: PW = $35/cord, C-N-S = $62/cord, ST = $243/MBF.
  2. Net present worth is calculated with revenues discounted to present year less costs discounted to present year at an 8% discount rate. A net present worth value greater than zero indicates that at least the discount rate is being earned on the investment.
  3. Internal rate of return is the interest rate at which discounted revenues equal discounted costs. It assumes that all intermediate revenues are reinvested into the project. A project is considered profitable if the internal rate of return exceeds the discount rate.
  4. Annual equivalent value is the net present worth expressed as an annuity over the planning horizon, computed at the discount rate. Annual equivalent value is a useful measure for comparing investments over unequal time periods.

Intensive Management Wood Quality Issues

To date, the rapid production of fiber for pulp manufacturing has been the focus of most intensive pine plantation management efforts. While tree diameters may meet the size requirements for chip-n-saw and perhaps small sawtimber by 10 to 15 years, the quality of rapidly-grown wood will not meet current standards for solid wood products. Production of chips from rapidly grown stands for use in composite panels will likely increase. However, there will be markets for solid/sawn lumber in the foreseeable future for high-end appearance-grade products, such as paneling, molding, furniture and other "luxury" items. Because of the impression of high quality and durability implied by the term "solid wood", and because many composite products do not provide a very "satisfying" appearance, composite products will not be able to fill these markets for a long time, if ever.

Solid/sawn products will have markets in the foreseeable future for the majority of construction-lumber in sizes from 2x2 through 2x12, and 4x4 through 6x6 posts. Because of processing costs and adhesives prices, composite products will probably not be price competitive with such solid/sawn material for a long time, if ever.

Nominal 2" thick dimension lumber when dressed/dried is actually only 1 ½" thick. Very fast-grown trees produce ring widths that can result in lumber with high proportions of very low density earlywood (EW) on faces exposed to high stress and/or wear. Such lumber can fail to provide expected performance even when matching criteria for a particular grade. It may also have nailing surfaces that consist predominately of low-density EW which cannot provide holding power of higher-density wood.

Much lumber from fast-grown timber comes from juvenile-wood, with its lower proportions of latewood (LW), which is lower density than mature LW. Large fibril angles in juvenile-wood cells also cause more longitudinal shrinkage and consequently greater risk of severe warping than mature wood. Finally, low proportions of cellulose in juvenile wood affect its performance in ways not necessarily reflected in lumber grades.

Solid/Sawn Product Requirments


Anonymous. 1994. Voluntary Product Standard PS 20-94, American softwood lumber standard. Developed under procedures published by the Department of Commerce in Part 10, title 15, of the Code of Federal Regulations. The American Lumber Standard Committee. 35p.

Borders, B.E., and R.L. Bailey. 1997. Loblolly pine - pushing the limits of growth. Consortium on Accelerated Pine Production Studies, Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia. Tech. Rep. CAPPS 1997-1. 9 p.

Campbell, R.A. 1962. A Guide to grading features in Southern pine logs and trees. USDA Forest Service, SE For. Expt. Sta. Station Paper No.156. 22 p.

Dangerfield, C. W, Jr., and D.J. Moorhead. 1997. Revised modeling used to evaluate impacts of management and rotation on wood-flow and profitability from Conservation Reserve Program pine plantations in Georgia. Proceedings 27th Southern Forest Economics Workshop, Little Rock, AR. 5 p.

Pienaar, L.V., and J.W. Rheney. 1996. An evaluation of the potential productivity of intensively managed pine plantations in Georgia. Georgia Consortium for Technological Competitiveness in Pulp and Paper Technology - Fiber Supply. Final Report. 33 p.

Southern Pine Inspection Bureau. 1991. Standard grading rules for Southern pine lumber. Southern Pine Inspection Bureau. 134 p. +66 p. Appendixes.

Marketing and Harvesting Timber

Julian R. Beckwith, III
Profesor, Wood Products
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Forested land can be a very satisfying possession. It provides natural beauty, shade from summer heat, shelter from winds, air purification, wildlife habitat, a source of water, a peaceful getaway and a financial reserve. As a forest ages, the addition of timber volume slows; so the increase in financial value may also decrease.

The decision to sell timber may be based on biological conditions of the forest, financial considerations or intangibles such as aesthetics. Sales of forest products other than trees leave the forest environment basically intact, but a timber sale produces major environmental changes. It may temporarily change conditions that make production of nearly all other forest products possible. To sell timber is usually a big decision for a landowner who should consider his personal objectives as well as the needs of the buyer.

Fortunately, timing a timber sale is not often a pressing issue biologically because the quality of mature trees changes very slowly over time, unlike many agricultural products. Of course, epidemics such as pine beetles or accidents such as fire or hurricanes can change the situation, but generally they are not great risks. This long-term storage potential means a forest landowner has great flexibility when timing a sale, and waiting for better market conditions to improve profits is frequently a viable option.

Factors Affecting Timber Prices


When selling timber ,it is important to understand some aspects of marketing and harvesting that affect prices. Timber "on the stump" is called stumpage. Many costs are incurred converting stumpage to a final wood product.

The market price of the finished product, minus all conversion costs (including profit), produces a residual sum that can be applied to the purchase of stumpage. Different producers can afford to pay different stumpage prices, depending upon what they manufacture, how efficiently they do it and how much it costs to retrieve (harvest and transport) the timber to them. The more bidders competing for a timber sale, the more likely the fair market value will be received. If a single large company owns nearby mills and a lot of forestland in an area, competition is reduced and stumpage prices tend to be lower. But if several competing mills exist near one another and timberland is owned mainly by private landowners, stumpage prices tend to be higher.

Timber Species

Certain wood products are more in demand than others, making suitable timber worth more than other trees. Many timber characteristics are related to the product/timber relationship. Species is usually the most significant property of timber affecting stumpage prices. A stand of mature walnut is much more valuable than a similar forest of sweetgum because walnut is relatively scarce, can be fabricated into furniture easily and is attractive enough to command high prices. Sweetgum is abundant, difficult to dry and machine and not as attractive or desirable as walnut. Lumber prices of hardwoods are often related to furniture style or fashion which can change frequently, and stumpage prices reflect those changes. This means a once popular and valuable species can become a slow seller, bringing low stumpage prices as demand changes with product fashion.

Even among southern pine species there are differences relative to marketing. For instance, only lumber from longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly and slash pines can be grademarked as "southern yellow pine." This has to do with inherent average strength properties and the demand for southern pine lumber's strength in construction uses. Lumber from other southern pines must be marked "mixed southern pine," so stumpage prices for the major southern pines may be higher than for others.

Timber Quality

Another timber feature affecting value is its quality for particular products. Appearance-grade plywood requires logs with few knots and considerable volumes of clear veneer, so it must come from large, older trees with long, branch-free stems which are relatively scarce.

Because of their scarcity and the high cost of products made from them, these trees can bring relatively high prices. In contrast, most lumber used for construction does not have to be "pretty," so long as it has sufficient strength. Thus, construction lumber can be produced from smaller timber with more natural features such as knots and color differences. Such lumber is less valuable than plywood made from high-quality veneer and trees producing it are more common so this sawtimber will not bring prices as high as veneer logs command.

Timber values range from that used for power poles, to veneer logs, down to material that can only be chipped or flaked for use in composite products or for fuel. Items such as particleboard, pulp and paper or fuel have many competitors and sell for comparatively low prices. The abundance of low-value timber and the low cost of products made from it result in low stumpage prices.

Harvesting Costs

Harvesting factors also affect timber value. Tree size and age are important because logging productivity increases with stem size. It is much quicker to harvest 1,000 board feet of wood as two large logs than as six small ones. Large, older trees usually grow in more open stands where it is easier, quicker and less expensive to maneuver logging equipment. Costs for harvesting large trees from older stands is generally less than for harvesting small, young trees; so a larger residual is left to pay for the stumpage.

Harvesting equipment, whether chain saws and bobtail trucks or large mechanical harvesters, have costs associated with moving them. The more volume over which that fixed cost can be spread, the lower the harvesting cost per unit. Equipment use also incurs operating costs. If stands are densely stocked, unproductive machine movement is reduced, lowering cost per unit so large dense stands can be cut more economically than small ones of low density.

In order to sell timber, one must have a buyer. If forestland is far from major producers of wood products, timber must be hauled long distances to a mill and transportation costs are high. In other areas, nearby mills may specialize in certain products, such as pulp and paper, and even if Chip-n-Saw or sawtimber stumpage is part of the stand, it may not bring prices representative of the product value. The pulp mill cannot put such timber to its best use and costs for hauling it to a distant sawmill may leave too small a residual for good stumpage prices.

Harvesting is also affected by the terrain and soil conditions present in a forest stand. High-production timber harvesting machinery works best on relatively flat, dry sites. On sites with steep slopes or in low, swampy areas, these machines become less efficient. The more time it takes to cut, bunch and haul logs from the woods, the more expensive the operation. When human labor is required to substitute for mechanization in adverse conditions, harvesting costs can increase even more. However, certain mechanized operations can be very expensive too, particularly if specialized equipment must be used to overcome site problems. For instance, wide-track, high-flotation log skidders used in very wet areas are extremely expensive. As harvesting costs increase there is less money available for stumpage payment. In some cases, costs are too high for a site to be logged economically, so trees are left uncut, or if cut as part of a management plan, their "negative value" is subtracted from the price paid for the rest of the timber.

Special Conditions

At times mills may have special demands for timber. Because of huge fixed costs, large forest products businesses must continue to run. A long period of wet weather may make logging impossible in certain areas and cause a mill to deplete its log supply. The timber procurement forester is then given greater latitude to obtain timber from loggable sites, with less regard to price. The landowner with the right timber on the right site may receive an artificially high offer for the stumpage in such a situation. Conversely, good logging conditions in an area may cause local mills to be oversupplied with logs and sales there may result in inordinately low bids. These irregular situations are synthetic, creating elation or disappointment for mill procurement people, foresters and landowners and causing much confusion.

Regenerating After Harvesting

Although harvesting and regeneration are thought of as separate operations, they can and should fit together in practice. The way a stand is harvested can affect regeneration of the next stand. For instance, clearcutting without subsequent proper site preparation can produce "green junk," undesirable species or trees with poor form that will never have much value.

Several standard regeneration schemes are used for forestland (see the section on Low Cost Regeneration Options). The easiest and most economical scheme for the logger usually is clearcutting followed by reseeding or replanting. Seed tree regeneration requires conspicuous marking of trees to be left so loggers will protect them from damage. A small amount of timber value is lost with this technique, and a slight increase in logging costs results. However, regeneration of the replacement stand occurs naturally, with costs for "filling in" lightly seeded areas much less than after clearcutting.

In shelterwood regeneration, lower volumes of timber are cut and logging costs are higher. Although this technique reduces timber values more than the other two, natural regeneration is more assured than with seed trees. regeneration costs and risks are greatly reduced.

The bottom line in selling timber is that given a particular stand, area and time, a landowner can do little to affect stumpage price. An inventory survey provides an idea of what is being sold, but at this point, varying the size of the sale, choosing a particular regeneration method and encouraging numerous bids are about all the options one has.

Throughout its life a forest can be managed to maximize its assets. Desirable species can be established on appropriate sites and cultural practices such as application of herbicides and fertilizer, pruning, prescribed burning and thinning can be applied as the stand matures. Sites can be improved for managing timber by draining beaver ponds, constructing or maintaining logging roads and installing fire breaks for protection.

Managing other forest resources to minimize reduction in timber quality and volume can help too. As timber reaches a marketable age, astute observation of demand will determine an advantageous time to sell. Retaining a professional forester to manage property for timber production and to handle timber sales may be the most profitable path.

Step by Step to a Timber Sale

The following steps summarize procedures to follow for a successful timber sale:
  1. Consider the factors affecting the value of your timber and why you want to sell at a particular time. Be aware of the demand for various species and products in your area at the time you want to sell. If market conditions are not good, determine whether you can wait until they improve.
  2. Decide what kind of harvesting and regeneration you want for your forestland and include regeneration in your plans. Leaving a cut stand to fend for itself can greatly reduce productivity.
  3. Choose the area to be cut and be sure it is marked to avoid trespassing problems. A map indicating the area and special features such as roads, fences, creeks and swamps will be helpful to prospective bidders.
  4. Prepare an inventory of the timber (a cruise) to determine what is available in the tract being sold. This can help determine how to advertise the sale, will aid bidders and will make it easier to judge bids submitted.
  5. Determine the type of sale to be made. Selling by the thousand board feet or cord requires accurate tallying of units removed for fair payment. Reimbursement is usually made daily or weekly, after logs are hauled to their point of sale. A lump-sum sale, although based on estimated volume, gives the seller a fixed number of dollars regardless of the volume of timber actually harvested. Because payment is made before harvesting begins, lump-sum sales have the advantage of being easier to administer.
  6. Prepare an invitation to bid on the timber being offered for sale. Include the name and address of the seller, how the seller can be reached for questions, the location and description of the tract (cruise information and a map are useful), the type of harvest, the time available for harvesting, the method of payment and when bids will be opened. Be sure all conditions a buyer must meet (such as fence repair and stream cleaning) are specified in the invitation and state that the seller has the right to refuse any and all bids.
  7. Send out invitations to potential buyers. Information on potential buyers can be found in the Georgia Forestry Commission's "Wood Using Industries in Georgia," or from county Extension agents, consulting foresters or Georgia Forestry Commission county units. Advertising in local newspapers also can develop interest in the sale.
  8. Hold received bids unopened until the time indicated in the invitation. Playing one bidder against another before the opening date produces a bad reputation. When bids are opened, let all bidders know the results without disclosing names associated with each bid. Be sure bidders not attending the opening are notified. If the high bid does not reach your goal, all bids may be rejected. Accept the bid that will produce the most guaranteed revenue. Sometimes doing business with the highest bidder may be less of a financial advantage if honesty, reliability and dependability are taken into account.
  9. Carry out harvesting according to the terms of the contract. Conditions listed in the invitation must be included in a contract. The Extension bulletin, Timber Sale Contract Sample, lists items to consider in your contract. A competent lawyer experienced in timber sales should draft the contract.
  10. Inspect the harvesting operation frequently to ensure adherence to contract conditions. Many divergences from contract agreements are inadvertent and can be corrected easily if caught early. After timber is harvested, prepare roads to reduce erosion. Damage to pre-existing structures such as fences, buildings, bridges or culverts should be repaired as specified in the contract.
  11. Start preparing the site for the next forest. Site preparation must be appropriate to the regeneration scheme selected. With proper preparation and regeneration, the process begins over again. The new forest environment that develops will again produce resources of all sorts with their respective financial and aesthetic values.


It is important to recognize that timber-procurement personnel are to obtain raw material for a mill as inexpensively as possible. That makes the process of selling timber somewhat adversarial. Some of the steps and requirements in marketing timber and monitoring a timber sale are involved and time consuming. Knowing who to solicit bids from, what to include in the contract and how to enforce terms of the contract may best be handled by someone with experience. Even if the land is not managed by a professional forester, it is possible to have the sale directed by one. Such help could include advice about taxes on timber-sale income, recommendations on harvesting contractors and information on planting contractors and is likely to be money well spent.

Low Cost Roads and Harvesting Systems

Ben D. Jackson
Professor, Timber Harvesting
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Building Woods Roads

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not have a road onto your property? A woods road provides access for emergency fire crews, management operations and harvesting equipment. Roads provide access for recreation and sport and increase timber land value. Constructing a woods road can add thousands of dollars to the cost of logging a tract, particularly on difficult sites, and timber buyers often prefer to buy timber that is easily accessible.

Landowners rarely have the money required to expand or improve their woods roads or the knowledge and equipment necessary to construct a road. As a result, most landowners wish they had a road through their property, but do not have the means to fulfill the wish.

You can get a road built on your tract at a reduced cost if you plan for the situation and take the initiative at the right time. Under the right conditions, building a woods road on your timberland can be a low-cost, moderate-input process.

Regardless of who builds the road, always follow the recommended best management practices (BMPs) for forestry in Georgia. These are simple, practical methods to minimize soil movement and sedimentation. The BMPs are intended to ensure continued high water quality relative to forestry operations. The BMPs for roads are particularly important and some are even federally mandated in wetland areas.

Logger-Built Roads

Timing is critical in reducing road construction costs. If you expect to have your timber logged within the next year, begin planning your road requirements now. Loggers rely on woods roads for transporting harvested timber and they often have the equipment, manpower and expertise to construct a quality woods road. But to take advantage of their efforts, be prepared. Plan the access roads well in advance. Do not ask for the impossible and do not assume that the logger will pick up all the costs, particularly if you want a well constructed, all-weather road. Consider the following points before starting construction.

Decide whether you really need a new road on your tract. Examine maps, such as readily available United States Geographical Service topographic maps and aerial photographs to define the existing road system on your land and pinpoint areas where access may be required. Using the maps, roughly sketch all proposed roads, being sure to link them with the existing road system. As you design roads on paper, consider factors such as drainage, slope, maneuverability and earth moving requirements. Aerial photos can help you identify problem areas, such as periodic drains, that may not be noted on the topographic maps. A good reference book for road construction is the Handbook for Eastern Timber Harvesting, available from the United States Forest Service.

Walk the proposed road to determine if the route you have selected is feasible. If you cross unmarked mayor drains or steep ravines, you may need to obtain better maps. In most cases, however, you will probably go over terrain similar to that noted on the maps and aerial photos. You may want to modify your mapped route to take advantage of conditions that you note during your survey hike. If you find no major problems, take some high visibility marking ribbon available at most engineering or forestry supply companies, and mark points along the selected route. Curves and areas of poor visibility should be marked more frequently. Marking the route in this manner is critical, because the logger will use these points to guide him during road construction.

Next, develop a timber bid request packet that contains the appropriate timber marketing information and a contract provision that includes construction requirements for your proposed woods road. Specifications noted in the contract should include desired road width, an estimate of the road distance, a description of the beginning and ending points of the road and an estimate of drainage and culvert requirements. Specify whether the buyer will be required to provide road construction material such as culverts and surfacing gravel. If your contract specifies an all-weather road with a gravel surface and stringent culvert or ditching requirements, do not expect many bids. However, if you keep the road simple and construction requirements to a minimum, you should have few problems attracting bids.

After selecting the best bid, contact the buyer and the contract logger to discuss the proposed road. Give them a tour of the proposed road and discuss your objectives. Ask the logger about the road layout and discuss any problems that might evolve during construction. Ask about starting and projected completion dates. The project may take a year or more to complete. Be willing to pay for material to guarantee that quality material is being used and that there will be enough to do a quality job.

Follow up on road construction efforts as the harvesting operations progress. If you note problems with drainage or at stream crossings, discuss improvements with the logger while the logging operation is still on site. If you can defer or eliminate the cost of moving equipment back to the site at a later date, you will substantially reduce your costs.

As the harvest nears completion, check the site and have the logger clean up any problem areas such as wet spots where log trucks may have rutted the road or where more drainage or culverts are needed. If the logger operates or has access to a grader, have important sections of the road graded. Block entrances to areas where traffic is no longer desired and seed-in the areas to reduce erosion and rutting where little traffic is expected.

Landowner-built Roads

If young timber will not be harvestable for another 20 years, few options exist to lower the cost of road construction. You could build your own road rather than contract the work. If you can use a dozer and other heavy equipment, this option is possible; however, the cost of construction will still be high, with equipment costs between $50 and $200 per hour of operation. You must provide all the labor and expertise associated with building the road, placing the culverts and setting up the drainage pattern. Landowners without this type of training should not attempt the project.

Low Cost Harvesting Options

Many landowners dream of cutting their own stand of timber as their fathers might have done 30 years ago. Aside from keeping you in great shape, working your own logging operation generates more profit from your timber. In some cases, you could double your return. Other advantages to harvesting your own timber include reduced site damage, the potential for greater utilization and less residual stand damage in thinning operations.

Logging is not a spur-of-the-moment project. The typical contract logger in the South invests between $200,000 and $1,000,000 in equipment. Four to six employees rely on that logger for a living. The logger harvests between 200 and 1500 cords of wood each week, delivering pulpwood, chip'n'saw and sawtimber products to mills that can be more than 100 miles from the logging site. Most logging operations are highly mechanized. Harvested trees are usually transported using tractor-trailer rigs because wood is often delivered to the mill as tree-length pieces that exceed 35 feet in length.

Most landowners do not have the specialized equipment needed to harvest and transport timber. They have limited experience using logging equipment and usually have no experience merchandising timber products. To successfully harvest your timber, you must overcome these and other problems that may seem insurmountable. Generally, it is easier to let an experienced logger handle the harvest.

In some cases, logging your own timber can be the best decision. If your timbered tract is less than 15 acres it may be difficult to find a logger to harvest your timber. A logger can spend more than $500 just moving to the tract and if the tract has a small timber volume, the logger could lose money. If you cannot find a logger to harvest the timber, your only option may be to harvest the tract yourself. You may want to harvest your own timber if you plan to use the wood on your farm or at home.

If you decide to harvest you own timber, plan the operation before starting the harvest. Be sure to take some time off from work, because non-mechanized logging can be very slow.

Before you even pick up a chainsaw, determine if the timber is marketable. If the average stand diameter is less than 6 inches DBH (diameter at breast height) the stand is probably not ready to harvest. Determine how much timber is on the tract, what type of products can be removed, where the timber can be sold and the form of the wood required by the mill. Find out if mills in the area take "gate wood," unsolicited wood bought at the gate. If possible, discuss the situation with a representative from the mill about your plans.

Before you do any logging, you must have marketable timber, a mill or woodyard that will buy the timber from you and some method of logging and hauling the wood in a form that the mill will accept.

Harvesting Systems

The type of harvesting system you need to develop depends upon the form of the wood delivered to the mill. If you can find a company willing to take shortwood (63-inch sticks), you can put together a cheap and effective harvesting system at a low cost. If the mill takes only tree-length stems, you may have to arrange for the loading and hauling through a contractor.

Shortwood systems are low-cost, labor-intensive operations that have been used for more than 50 years. You need a chainsaw, a converted haul truck and a lot of muscle. The entire system can be developed for less than $15,000, depending upon the quality of the truck. An experienced crew could harvest between 10 and 20 cords per day using this system. Trees are felled, limbed and bucked into 5-foot lengths with a chainsaw and the shortwood is piled in the woods along areas of good access. The truck is then driven to each pile where the wood is hand-loaded. A typical load will contain two to five cords, depending upon the truck capacity.

You cannot merchandise sawtimber or chip'n'saw products with a shortwood operation because these products require longer timber. Some trucks can haul cut-to-length sawlogs, but they are more expensive than the smaller pulpwood trucks. You will need a mechanized loader because the weight of a sawlog can reach several thousand pounds. However, a shortwood system is perfect for thinning harvests and keeping residual stand damage to a minimum.

You will need three or four strong workers to help with the operation. In most cases, these workers will hand pile and load the wood onto the truck. Logging is a very dangerous occupation; provide some worker's compensation for your employees as required by law.

If the mill accepts only longwood, as is common in the Southeast, you will need a slightly different system. Timber can easily be harvested as tree-length, but it is impossible to transport tree-length timber without a tractor-trailer. You can harvest the timber (fell, limb and buck each stem) with a chainsaw and skid it to the roadside with a tractor equipped for woods use (with a bellypan, rollbar and screen protection for the radiator). This system is comparable in cost to the shortwood system previously described, but does not account for the cost of hauling the wood to the mill. At the roadside, you will need a loader and a tractor trailer to get the wood into the mill. Loaders are difficult to rent and too expensive to buy for a small logging operation, so you may be forced to contract with a logger or hauler with a truck and a loader. Some contract haulers have a loader mounted on the truck and can do the operation with only one piece of equipment. Most contract haulers will charge by the loaded mile and on long hauls you may actually lose money from the sale, particularly if you are delivering gate wood.

Aside from the contract loader and hauler, you will need at least one other worker to run the tractor and skid the wood to the roadside. A third worker would be useful for limbing and topping the felled timber, allowing you to concentrate on felling. Production is somewhat greater than with the shortwood system, allowing you to get 50 cords or more per day.


The two options described are low cost and within the financial range of many timberland owners. However, both involve intensive manual labor and neither is highly productive.

You will be limited by the haul distance from your tract to the mill. With the system described, your operation would probably become unprofitable if the wood were delivered to a mill more than 50 miles from the tract. As a result, you would be limited in terms of market outlets.

Markets are also limited by product type. Your harvesting system may be able to produce cut-to-length sawlogs, but that is irrelevant if the mills in the area do not buy this product. If you decide to harvest your own timber, make sure you know what products are bought and the exact specifications for those products and develop your logging operation around these specifications.

Generally, harvesting your own timber is not recommended. Capital costs, poor merchandising and limits on profitability severely restrict landowner harvesting operations. Harvesting by the landowner should be encouraged only if the timber is for home or farm use, or is on low-volume tracts that cannot be profitability harvested by a contract logger. If you decide to develop your own low-cost harvesting system, do a little homework first. You may prefer to have a contractor do it for you.

Alternative Enterprises

Kim D. Coder
Professor, Silvics/Ecology

Julian R. Beckwith, III
Professor, Wood Products

Coleman W. Dangerfield, Jr.
Professor, Economics

Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

So far we have discussed managing forest land mainly to produce timber for a variety of wood products. However, forest environments are versatile and can produce a number of other things that might interest a timberland owner. They can, for instance, yield "products" such as water, wildlife, grazing and recreational opportunities too. The production of landscape plants, firewood, pine straw and decorative items such as mistletoe and pine cones are also viable alternatives. In this section we will discuss some of those non-timber alternatives.

For all forest enterprises, liability is important. This is especially true when land is opened to consumers for a fee. Consultation with an attorney and insurance professional must be a part of any plans for alternative enterprises.

Woods-grown Trees for Landscaping

Many forests abound with small trees suitable for residential landscaping. Certain species are not commonly available in garden centers or nurseries and particular shapes, branch forms and sizes are not always available. One must be aware though, that tree pests can be transplanted into landscapes and may infest surrounding trees. For instance, current concerns about diseases in wild dogwoods make it inadvisable to move them into community landscapes.

Depending upon local landscape markets, natural seedling production in a forest may provide profitable opportunities with proper management, selection, care and merchandising. However, using natural seedlings is not necessarily an inexpensive and easy way to produce a high-profit landscape product.

The first step in selecting wild trees is to mark with flagging or a stake those with good potential for transplanting. To increase transplanting success, tree roots must be trained (root pruned) by cutting them at some distance from the stem. This process stimulates development of more small, absorbing roots close to the stem. Before transplanting, give trees one full growing season to adapt to the pruned roots. Many will not adjust well and die.

In addition to root pruning, natural seedlings also need top pruning before transplanting. Remove dead, dying or unwanted branches one full growing season before transplanting. Leave one main stem, alternate branching, no forks and a well-formed crown of leaves. This can be done at the same time as root pruning. Trees with most of their branches at about the same height (flat topped) have problems adjusting to new sites; however, by top pruning for several growing seasons and removing competing trees, these trees can be invigorated.

With proper pruning and care, healthy landscape trees can be produced from forest seedlings. However, correct harvesting and replanting are essential. It is necessary to have a well proportioned planting hole; water and temporary stake for support. For two or three years, supply water year-round in dry periods to ensure the tree becomes well established. Avoid over-watering and do not begin fertilizing for one growing season after transplanting.

Successfully taking wild trees from the woods for landscaping is hard work. Large and rare trees can be in great demand, but market development is critical for profit. You must know what you have and buyers must be confident of tree quality and their potential for survival.


For a forest landowner, growing trees specially for firewood is seldom an economically-attractive alternative. However, creative marketing of trees that need thinning may "fuel" a firewood market. After a more productive venture like a timber sale, residual material could yield firewood in a cleanup operation before regenerating the next timber stand.

Harvesting, hauling, processing and marketing firewood take a lot of time if done by hand, and mechanizing the operation is a high-priced option. Consequently, firewood production can be a time-consuming recreational activity or an expensive business endeavor. However, low-value forest residues can be inexpensive raw materials for people to gather for individual or business use; so residues may serve as a source of income for the landowner.

Although any wood can be used as firewood, certain species are better than others. Table 15 lists characteristics often used in defining firewood quality. Since actual heat value per pound of all dry wood is nearly the same, wood density becomes an important measure of suitability for firewood. Heavier woods require fewer trips to the log stack for the same amount of heat.

Table 15. Characteristics reported for some commonly used firewoods.

Age M.C.
Species Wt. per cu.ft. (lbs)* HW (%) SW (%) Splitability Startability Heavy smoke Spark yield Heat yield
Ash 43 95 60 good fair no few high
Beech 42 55 70 fair hard no few high
Birch 34 75 70 good easy no some med.
Black locust 52 35** 50** poor hard no very few very high
Elm 36 95 90 poor fair med. few med
Hickory 51 70 50 fair fair no few high
Soft maple 34 60 100 good fair no few med.
Red oak 43 80 70 fair fair no few high
White oak 46 64 78 fair hard no few high
Southern pine 40 30 100 good easy med. med. med.
Sycamore 35 110 130 poor fair no few med.
Sweetgum 34 80 140 poor fair no few med.
Yellow poplar 30 80 105 good easy no med. low

Some trees grow wood with larger amounts than others, and some woods naturally dries faster than others. Wood moisture content is the weight of water present relative to the weight of dry wood substance. High density wood holds more water at a certain moisture content than does low density wood so high density wood usually dries more slowly. Woods that produce the most heat usually need the longest drying time.

Other wood characteristics are also important to consider. For instance, the ability to split easily or to ignite quickly is desirable, but production of heavy smoke or sparks is certainly undesirable.

Firewood is usually bought and sold in cord measures. In Georgia the law requires firewood to be advertised and sold in full or fractional cord lots except when sold in individual bundles of less than 4 cubic feet and sold "as is." A standard cord is 4-foot logs in a stack 4 feet high and 8 feet wide (4x4x8), for a volume of 128 cubic feet. Air spaces between logs reduce the volume of wood and bark to about 80 or 90 solid cubic feet. For reference, the branch-free stem of a 20-inch DBH red oak tree 80 feet tall yields just over one standard cord of wood.

As a heat source, wood can substitute for many other fuels. Depending upon prices of the various fuels and how efficiently they are burned, wood can be competitive in price per unit of heat produced, but factors such as safety and convenience may reduce its desirability to a homeowner. If wood is used mainly for decorative burning or for specialty cooking, it sells for higher prices. People burning wood in fireplaces for atmosphere will usually pay more for it than people heating with wood stoves and barbecue restaurants needing hickory firewood to flavor their meat will usually pay higher prices.

"Logging" firewood is not usually a case of felling tall, straight trees, cutting off their branches and tops and skidding long, straight logs back to be loaded on a truck for hauling to a processing point. Such high-quality raw material is sold for higher-value end products than firewood. Firewood timber is usually trees which are unsuitable for higher-value products because they are species without current market demand, or their form makes it difficult to obtain valuable products such as lumber from them. Woods such as black locust, dogwood, maple and mulberry are examples of species with little market value now. Even black gum, sweet gum, river birch and hickory may periodically have little market value. Many trees, because of their genetics as well as because of their position in the forest environment, grow with twists and turns in their main trunk and limbs. Although their wood may have a desirable appearance, their form makes it difficult to obtain straight pieces long enough for most products.

However, where forest land is being cleared for other uses such as building a lake or developing a residential area, often contractors will give away timber to whoever will take it. This reduces their disposal costs and provides knowledgeable local entrepreneurs a source of raw material for their immediate needs.
Where timber-harvesting operations have been completed on forest land, frequently large volumes of residues remain. These often include tops and large branches of trees whose main trunks were logged for primary processing. Such residues often serve as ideal raw material for firewood and can usually be obtained at little or no charge. Obviously harvesting material from a logged tract has its challenges because of debris that makes access difficult. The extra cost of hand labor or of specialized equipment for dealing with such challenges must be offset by reduced cost of the raw material.

Another potential source of firewood timber is loggers already involved in harvesting operations. Paying a little more than the cost of logging/hauling their primary products can still yield logs for firewood at a price much lower than cleanup/residue/recovery logging.

Once firewood raw material is obtained, preparing it for sale becomes important. Storing large amounts of fresh, unprocessed timber can lead to deterioration if further processing is not carried out quickly. Because of large amounts of water in fresh logs, conditions are frequently ideal for attack by insects and decay fungi. Reducing timber to firewood-log size is the first order of business. Short pieces dry much faster than long ones, reducing risks of deterioration while improving the value of material for firewood.

The length of firewood logs can be an important consideration in terms of product desirability and hence marketability. Handling longer pieces is more efficient and cost effective, but some fireplaces or heaters will only accommodate logs of certain lengths. Providing logs of lengths that suit local markets in a way that maximizes profits from the business, requires careful record keeping, perceptive analysis and some ingenuity. Good marketing is required also with special attention to potential niche markets such as special lengths for large fireplaces at resorts or country clubs, large homes, elegant restaurants or historic showplaces.

Even further processing of cut-to-length firewood is often beneficial or necessary. Split logs dry faster, ignite easier, stack more securely and are easier to manage by hand than large, heavy pieces. Hand splitting with mauls and wedges can be very fast under certain conditions. Relatively short pieces of fresh, straight-grained logs will split easily with a single blow. However, dry logs, knots, forks, etc. vastly increase the effort of log splitting. Hydraulically-powered log splitters, particularly those with a divided splitting wedge producing multiple splits in a single pass, are essential for efficient operations with satisfactory financial-return potential. One critical concern in the splitting process is cycling rate. It is one thing to be able to split all sorts of logs, but altogether another to be able to split them fast enough to match other associated equipment, and/or to do it efficiently enough for satisfactory productivity.

Finally, firewood processing requires drying wood to a moisture content that prevents deterioration and satisfies the market. Kiln drying can be accomplished in a matter of days, but loading and unloading a kiln with firewood requires much handling or innovative racks/frames/stands to make the job tolerably efficient. Costs of a kiln can be high too, although drying firewood is undemanding enough to allow considerable flexibility and hence cost savings. Facilities that just increase natural fresh airflow with fans can improve drying rates considerably, and are much cheaper, although still slower, than kilns. Natural air drying is most common with firewood, although large stacking areas are required with sufficient air circulation. The more that wood can be protected from moisture-adding conditions (rain and high humidity) and exposed to drying conditions (heat, airflow and low humidity), the faster it will dry. Ideal air drying requires paved drying yards, roofed sheds, a site exposed to good airflow and regular monitoring of moisture content. Even under such conditions, dense woods like oak and hickory may require three to six months drying time before sale.

After drying, firewood must be held in storage until sold. For some customers, special bio-sanitizing and packaging may be required, and for many, delivery must be provided. It is necessary also to consider costs of such activities in pricing firewood.

Marketing firewood is not an exact science and is very market specific. Rural customers probably expect less processing and lower prices than urban ones, while city dwellers may be willing to pay much higher unit prices for no "bugs," little "dust," quick ignition, few sparks and "pretty" flames. Specialized customers, such as barbecue houses, may be willing to pay relatively high prices for hickory or apple or peach wood that enhance the uniqueness and marketability of their product. Matching processing practices and resulting costs with consumer demands and what they are willing to pay, is essential for success in the firewood business.
One difficult and often disturbing aspect of a firewood business is that "weekend entrepreneurs," with little overhead or little understanding or concern for their overhead costs, provide temporary or periodic competition that can put legitimate, full scale, full-time operations in jeopardy. Developing a reliable customer base and a reputation for a quality product and consistent, competent service and supply are hard but crucial to long-term success.

Where does this leave the forest landowner? Perhaps with an interest in energy production for personal use or for a specialty firewood business, or with thoughts about ways to get rid of unwanted, weed trees or logging slash. In any case, it's good to know that oaks, hickory and ash are more valuable for heat production than pine, yellow poplar and sweetgum. Knowing that, thinnings and logging remains may be advertised properly for more rapid, inexpensive and perhaps, profitable removal and the continuing job of managing the forest resources productively can proceed.

Pine Straw

Because of increasing populations across the South, new housing developments are expanding many community areas. New businesses and corporate headquarters are being added too. All this means increasing demand for roads, buildings and landscaping. And more landscaping means more demand for mulches.

Mulches are often applied in order to hold soil moisture, to moderate soil temperature, to reduce erosion on new lots, to suppress weeds and to add a decorative appearance. Various materials are used for these purposes. In some places, ornamental gravel is popular; in others, pine bark is used, but in much of Georgia, pine straw is used predominately.

Although pine trees are evergreens, they lose old needles every year. The carpet of needles under a pine forest can be a valuable resource when baled like hay or straw and sold for landscape use. Pine straw mulch or ground cover must be reapplied frequently (at one to two-year intervals), so the market is nearly unlimited.
Despite the apparent financial promise of pine straw, there are certain restricting factors such as proper needle size. Longleaf and slash pines both have very long needles which bale easily and provide good ground cover. Loblolly pine needles are more difficult to bale although they provide satisfactory cover when applied. Other southern pines have needles too short to handle easily and cannot be baled well.

A certain amount of mechanization is necessary for baling pine straw so trees must be spaced far enough apart to accommodate such equipment as baling machinery. The ground must be level enough for its movement. Weeds and hardwood leaves must be absent from areas where pine straw is to be baled.
Pine straw yield can be increased by fertilization which may increase the need for weed control. The undecomposed or broken needles desired in the trade require raking and baling at least every other year.

The potential for pine straw production is greatest with longleaf or slash pines planted on level old fields at wide spacings, fertilized regularly and baled biennially.
Studies on pine straw production show that trees as young as six years old can yield 50 bales per acre every two years. On 15-year-old sites, as many as 100 bales per acre can be produced biennially. Although bales may sell at wholesale for $1.00 each, retail prices may be as high as $5.00 per bale. Mechanized baling operations on good sites have produced as many as 1,000 bales per day.

For a forest landowner, selling baling rights to a pine straw producer may be a reasonable option. If several producers are working in a particular area, bids could determine who gets the resource. If few bidders are available, the landowner may have to take whatever is offered or hire workers to do the baling and market it himself/herself.

Some major advantages of pine straw production are:

Some potential disadvantages are: With pine straw production, as with any venture, some decision making is required, because there is good opportunity for short-term financial returns at some cost in other resource areas. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages to determine what is right for your situation.

Pine Cones, Greenery, and Other Forest Decorations

To many people, forests are always attractive, but at certain times of the year, tradition and beauty make tree boughs, leaves and cones important indoor decorations.

Fall and winter holidays are associated with autumn leaves, pine cones and various evergreen branches used for decorative seasonal displays. Mistletoe, running cedar or ground pine, holly, honeysuckle and grape vines are formed into attractive holiday wreaths and other decorations. In the spring, ferns, slash and longleaf pine shoots and numerous wild flowers are used to beautify homes and businesses. Because of their popularity, these various components of forest lands may be resources for alternative enterprises.

As with many alternative forest resources, considerable manual work is involved in collecting and selling decorative forest plants. Unless the enterprise is seen as a recreational activity, it may be hard to justify time spent for the money made. Once again the leasing approach may have merit. An agreement with a wholesaler to harvest various decorative materials from the property could produce welcome income. A flat fee per acre is probably the best way to charge; however, very specific guidelines must be part of such an agreement. For instance, tree growth should not be unduly hindered by the collecting processes or by the removal of material.

In many cases, removing decorative forest components benefits growth of remaining trees. Taking mistletoe and vines from trees can improve their thrift and collecting cones from the forest floor can reduce wildfire hazards. Harvesting greenery from crop trees may provide pruning benefits and increase sawtimber value. Of course, too much of a good thing can be bad. Poorly-trimmed branches can be sites for pest and decay damage and trees can be injured when climbed. Removal of certain wild flowers may be illegal if they are designated as threatened or endangered. It is essential to carefully select potential lessees and to specify collection guidelines.

Forests and wild lands are sources of abundant resources but harvesting such assets for profit is not always easy.


As the population of the South grows, water becomes an important resource. The needs become especially apparent during dry years when water restrictions are applied. Water is not generally considered a saleable forest product, even though forest lands serve as watersheds for most community drinking water. However, water occurring on timberlands can serve as a resource for alternative enterprises.

Water, whether running in streams and rivers or lying still in ponds, provides opportunities for recreational enterprises. Fishing, waterfowl hunting, boating and swimming are popular. Capitalizing on popularity can be profitable, but does require development. Simple leasing arrangements for limited use of water sources may be the easiest and least disturbing to the rest of the forest. More development can mean greater profit, but with higher associated costs, increased management activity and greater liability risks.

Although fish farms are usually associated with nonforested agricultural areas, they are feasible in ponds on forest land. Commercial production of other water animals, such as alligators, crayfish and turtles, can also be profitable if specialized conditions and approaches are considered.

Another limited possibility for water from forest land is electric energy production. Streams that drop in elevation rapidly or have deep reservoirs can yield water power for electric generators. Such power can serve personal needs to reduce dependence on electric utilities or it can be sold to utility companies in some cases.

With the exception of recreation, perhaps the most profitable use of water resources on forest land is as an attraction for residential development. On peripheries of large forests, the additional income generated from such development is considerable, usually much greater than the consequent loss of productivity from other forest resources. It should be considered a viable alternative enterprise.

When evaluating enterprises for forest land, remember that greater economic profit may mean reduction in other values and that more profitable activities almost always require more physical and financial inputs.

Livestock Grazing

In the past, "running" livestock in woodlands was commonplace. Natural forest stands with low stocking density have enough light and other resources at the forest floor to support forage production. The trees also provide animals protection from summer heat and winter cold.

Growing trees is a long-term proposition with fairly large initial costs and little cash flow for a number of years. During the initial years of a timber investment, combining timber and livestock production would appear to offer opportunities to improve this situation. Limitations do exist because livestock can compact soil badly if the number of animals is great and trees cannot regenerate where livestock are grazing; however, research shows success is possible.

Grazing opportunities can be developed in existing pines by thinning to reduce basal area. This allows more light to reach the forest floor. Prescribed burning then encourages development of forage plants. Fertilization and seeding of desirable grasses can improve grazing quality. New pine stands can be established to integrate timber production and grazing opportunities. Tree seedlings can be planted at wide spacings of 10 by 10 feet or greater, or in closely-spaced rows that will be thinned frequently to leave open grazing strips. Regulation of basal area through thinning is extremely important, because approximately 15 pounds per acre of forage is lost for each 1 square foot increase in stand basal area.

Producing multiple products from the same area involves compromises. To allow sufficient light and water for grass production, the number of trees per acre must be reduced below that typical for timber production. At the same time, more land per animal is required for livestock than in open fields. One comparison showed a reduction in tree stocking from 650 down to 454 trees per acre reduced the land area needed per cow from four acres to 1.5 acres. Fertilizer applied to grass for hay/grazing production also increased forest productivity; so despite the extra costs for fencing and pasture establishment, results were promising. Calculated returns for timber increased and cattle production added additional income.

The proper choice of animal and forest stocking levels and pasture grass types can produce financial benefits from the combined production of cattle and timber. In fact, profits can be significantly greater with the combination than with either alternative taken separately.

Recreational Uses

To some people, recreation is represented by the sharp sound of wood against a dimpled white ball. To others, it is the splash of chlorinated water and children laughing. But to a large number of people, recreation is "the great outdoors."

There are many attractive elements of the outdoors in every forest. Even managed or recently-cut forests can have a sense of freshness and naturalness that provides a relaxing escape for many. For a forest landowner, these features can produce a demand for the recreational resource.

Forest recreation takes many forms. Some activities require minimal investment to establish or maintain. For example, leasing land for hunting may require no additional preparation, hiking may require initial clearing of some trails and periodic cleanup, while swimming would demand various facilities lifeguards and frequent cleaning. The more popular activities often cost the most to establish and maintain, but may yield the greatest return. However, less demanding forms of recreation probably disturb normal management of the forest the least.

To be financially successful, a recreation enterprise must provide activities that are in demand. The area of land involved, distance to cities and special facilities or features will influence the activity chosen. Picnicking for a fee near a county park where picnicking is free will not likely work, but forest bicycle paths or hiking trails to an active beaver pond may attract paying customers. Nearby public attractions such as historic sites and scenic areas can attract customers if proper advertising is used. Study successful enterprises in the general area and provide activities or services to complement them. A camping area next to an overcrowded state park could be very successful even if the park has camping.

No matter what sort of recreation a landowner decides to offer, a planned approach is essential. Such things as car traffic, restroom needs, cleanup and refreshments must be considered. Until a facility becomes known, it may be difficult to anticipate demand; however, some evaluation of demand should be made to prepare for consumer needs.

Forest recreation endeavors can be grouped by anticipated length of stay. Hiking or bird watching usually are single-day events, quail hunting is a weekend activity and camping or dude-ranch vacations may cover a week or more. Longer stays increase demands for services and facilities, but they allow access to more distant consumers.

Activities can be classified by level of services and facilities needed. Rustic campgrounds are less expensive to establish and are easier on the land than camping areas with utility hookups. Users of rustic facilities may be more careful of their surroundings, keeping maintenance costs down; however, more facilities generally make a site more popular.

Providing recreational opportunities is a good alternative enterprise to timber management, but it isn't accomplished without effort. Higher expected returns mean more effort is required. Good planning, attention to detail and dedication are important. Dealing with the public at leisure can be an extremely challenging business.


The alternative enterprises discussed here are not the only possibilities. Many imaginative entrepreneurs are improving productivity and yield from forest land in various ways. One product not mentioned is Christmas trees, because they are produced more as an agricultural product than a forest product; however, tracts for Christmas trees can be incorporated into an overall forest management scheme. Many publications and associations can help a landowner get started in this business.

Wildlife Based Business Opportunities for Landowners

Jeffrey J. Jackson
Professor, Wildlife Management
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Today, almost all Georgia hunting land available for a lease is booked. Lease prices, demand for memberships, day hunts and opportunities to hunt at resorts are on the upswing. These trends create opportunities that can benefit landowners.

What is driving this trend toward fee hunting? Lands open to the public are decreasing and wildlife habitat is shrinking, but hunters, while holding steady as a percentage of the population, are still increasing in total numbers.

According to the Wildlife Management Institute's April 1997 Outdoor News Bulletin, activities related to fish and wildlife continue to be very popular with Americans and a powerful economic force as well, according to a preliminary report of the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Related Recreation, which was conducted in 1996.

The survey, completed for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that the numbers of hunters 16 years and older has remained relatively constant during the past five years. There were 14 million hunters in 1996 and 14.1 million in 1991. Hunter expenditures jumped 75 percent, from $10.1 billion to 17.7 billion.

Surprisingly, the number of bird watchers, wildlife photographers, and other nonconsumptive participants dropped 17 percent during the 5-year period, from 76 million to 63 million. But their expenditures rose 39 percent to $29 billion.

Seven percent of the U.S. population 16 and older hunted during 1996, and 31 percent participated in nonconsumptive wildlife-related activity.

Hunters seek solitude, escape and adventure, and many vacationers, including hunters, enjoy visiting new places. These trends help fuel the demand for hunting on private land. Hunters will pay for low-density hunting and the experience it provides because most hunters dislike crowding.

Opportunities to watch birds and study nature can also be commercialized if a landowner has the right facilities and environment. Although the species most in demand continue to be deer, quail, turkey and waterfowl, some hunters are willing to pay to hunt raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and other species.

Figuring out how to tap into this new demand is sometimes confusing because there is no well developed system for marketing hunting. Hunting is not sold by the cord, unit or board foot. To market access to your wildlife you must identify your available wildlife, your marketing options and your potential customers and then think of ways to put them together.

Hunting Leases

The simplest way to sell access to wildlife is with a lease. A lease is an agreement between landowner and hunter that gives the lessee (usually a group of hunters) exclusive rights to hunt on a piece of land for a certain time. Leases are often the easiest and most profitable method to commercialize hunting because they usually entail the least work and worries. Lease prices vary enormously across the Southeast. Deer leases may be priced as high as $25 an acre, although the average is much lower. At the time of this writing good Georgia deer leases are about $7-10. A top turkey hunting lease might be $6, waterfowl up to $25 or more and quail up to $10 per acre. These figures are typical on lands with minimal facilities and good hunting. These prices might be unrealistic for an area with vast public lands nearby.
Leasing allows an absentee landowner to increase his control over his land. In many cases it is impossible to keep unwanted visitors out. If you lease your land, your paying customers will keep others off.


A membership is similar to a lease to a small club where you select the members. Memberships require the hunting to be very good. A trailer, an old house or a cabin on the land can make a membership easier to market. Annual membership fees might be $1000 or more per person per year. Similar to a membership is leasing your entire farm or land to one person. The landowner can sell services to the lessee and his or her guest as necessary.

Day Hunts

If you are a resident landowner, you can market hunting by the day or weekend. This gives you excellent control and you have the land to yourself when guests are not booked. This a good plan for a landowner who also likes to hunt or provide free hunting to friends. Day hunts for deer are worth $ 200 per day in some areas. Quail hunting, which requires trained dogs and a guide, can be worth $300 or more a day

Bed and Breakfast Plans

A bed and breakfast plan is an outstanding way to market hunting--- lodging and food increase the price of day and weekend hunting. It is not unreasonable to charge $200 to $300 a day for a place to stay, congenial company, good food and good hunting. If you could host three or four guests for a weekend of good hunting at $300 per day each, the bed and breakfast plan could be a valuable supplement to your income. This plan can be expanded to include all meals. The bed and breakfast provider need not own a hunting lease if abundant public lands are located nearby.

Hunting Resorts

A hunting resort is often a dream for landowners who like to hunt. Top resorts charge $350 to $500 per day for excellent hunting, food, service and hospitality, but the reality is that most new ventures fail. The cost of building new facilities and the advertising and management skills required to operate a motel in the woods are beyond the capabilities of most people. Those persons ambitious, hardworking and lucky enough to be successful may find they no longer have time to hunt.
If you are considering a hunting resort with released game birds, Ed Kozicky's book Shooting Preserves for Sport and Profit is a good source of information. Visit two or three places as a guest and ask yourself, "Can I do this as well as my host? "If I start a hunting resort, why should clients come to my place when they can afford to go anywhere?" If you can't answer these questions, maybe a lease is a better way to market your hunting.

Important Considerations

There are two main considerations when selecting a hunting enterprise for your land. The first is the wildlife assets and natural features of the land, and the second is the audience who will use the assets and who fits your ideas, goals and abilities. Let your land and desired clientele dictate what to do.

First, look at your land and wildlife. Does your land have a clean river with good fishing? Do you have a marsh full of ducks in the fall? Do you have farmland with fencerows full of quail and rabbits? Is your land a hardwood forest with deer and turkey? Maybe the land is monotonous rows of planted pines, or perhaps you have lakeshores crowded with shorebirds in the spring. These situations indicate what you can do easily and what is impractical. If in doubt, follow nature's lead. If your land has a duck blind in a marsh, it can be marketed to duck hunters, but if your land has no marsh and no ducks, there may be no economical way you can profitably make an artificial duck pond with enough appeal to provide a good return on your investment. Likewise, if all your land is in valuable timber, it might not pay to take land out of wood production to create wildlife food patches or other specialized wildlife habitats.

Consider the people you want to attract and the services you want to provide. If you know little about hunting and you have little time to spend dealing with clients, perhaps leasing would be best for you. If you are willing to share your house with hunters for a weekend, a bed and breakfast operation might be ideal. If you love being around people, are hospitable and enjoy serving others then aim for a clientele willing to pay for guided hunts and full service.

In all cases, remember what you are selling. Charles Revson said, "In the factory we make cosmetics--in the store we sell hope." With trees you sell wood, but the role of a giant buck or a flock of ducks is to be seen and appreciated, not to be killed at the earliest opportunity. Animals breathe excitement into the hunting experience. Hunters are happy to see game in interesting surroundings and know they have a good chance of success. Hunters are more likely to come back if they see a lot and harvest nothing than if they see only a few animals and get them all. The way the land looks, while difficult to quantify, can be very important. Remember this when you sell timber.

Do not overbook and overshoot. Consider how much hunting your wildlife will support. Suppose you have 2,400 acres with an annual surplus of 60 deer. Groups of four hunters hunting for two days at a success rate of 25 percent per day could provide 320 person days of hunting before using up the annual surplus. Match your hunting enterprise and the intensity of its use to the supply of game. If you tend to attract greedy hunters, consider adding an extra fee for animals bagged. You can adjust this fee to encourage the harvest of certain animals--if deer are abundant, the fee for a doe might be less than a buck, and a trophy buck should cost extra.

Advertising Tips

Bid a lease to determine the price to charge for lands not currently under a lease. Advertise to generate potential clients. An advertisement might read: "Write for free information about new hunting lease--1, 000 acres; deer and small game; your state, your phone." Send a description of the land and a sample lease to those who inquire. Set a deadline for making an offer. Have potential clients offer what they will pay the same way you would offer timber for bids."

Advertise full service recreation in specialized magazines. Advertise where the customers are, not where you are. Field & Stream and state or regional outdoor magazines are good for finding hunters; Audubon and Smithsonian are good magazines in which to advertise for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
Make a one-page advertising sheet. Mail it directly to lists of physicians, lawyers or other groups in large cities. Find your list by looking in the yellow pages and visiting trade shows.

Stress safety all the time. State your rules and provide an opportunity for guests to shoot at a range. Post copies of the ten commandments of hunter safety in buildings, at stands and in blinds.


Buy Insurance. Sometimes you can get a better deal by making a package of all your insurance needs, then shop the package with different insurance agents. These are sources of specialized insurance for hunting businesses. A "hold harmless" clause, by the way, does not prevent lawsuits, so before entering any business make sure you have adequate coverage.

Get professional help with wildlife management if you need it. As demand for wildlife management assistance increases, many unqualified people are adding "wildlife management" to their business cards. Just as you would hire a registered forester to organize a timber sale, you should hire a "certified wildlife biologist" if you need wildlife management advice. Wildlife is the foundation of your hunting enterprise and good advice is worth paying for. Do not assume a person is a professional wildlife manager just because a business advertises wildlife management services.

Other Ideas

Give something of value to guests as they leave. This can be a T-shirt with the name of your place, a shed deer antler, or an arrowhead inscribed with where it was found. Use your imagination.

Cater to groups to reduce the labor of being a good host. If you host four or five people who know each other, the group will entertain itself. Four friends are much easier to entertain than four strangers. Many hosts charge the same for a group of four as for a group of two or three to encourage group bookings. You may prefer to offer free extras as an attraction instead of reducing the price.

Take photographs and post them on the bulletin board of your cabin. This will add atmosphere and memories, and you can send a photograph to your clients with a Christmas card and an invitation to come back.

Remember that your final product is a good memory. Do things that will leave good memories in the minds of your clients and eliminate things that will not.

Sample Suggestions for a Hunting Lease

Jeffrey J. Jackson
Professor, Wildlife Management
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Leasing hunting land is one of several types of hunting enterprises. A good lease describes the agreements between landowner and hunter so that there are no misunderstandings about the privileges being purchased. The clauses below are intended as a list of suggestions on the kinds of understandings usually included in a hunting lease. There is no standard form for these clauses and all items are negotiable. Adapt the following clauses to your needs or prepare your own clauses for particular situations.

1. Limit the agreement to the person and lands involved.

Sample clause:

It is understood that all rights and privileges described here are limited to the land and provisions described here and to the undersigned lessor and lessee(s).

2. State the price and the kinds of animals the lessee(s) may hunt.

Sample clause:

For the sum of $ _____________ the lessee may hunt the following kinds of animals:
(Write in game animals, deer, turkey or whatever is allowed.)

3. Describe the land to be leased.

Sample clause:

In consideration of the rent described above, the lessor(s) hereby leases to lessee the following described premises:

(Include here a legal description of the property and include a map.)

4. Prevent the lessee(s) from subleasing the property.

Sample clause:

The lessee agrees not to sublease the above described lands, nor shall lessee grant any permissions to anyone to hunt or otherwise use the above described land.

5. State clearly which rights are included in the lease.

Sample clause:

Lessee shall use the premises for (Write in hunting, camping, picnicking or whatever is allowed.) purposes only. Lessee may not cut or damage trees, crops, roads or dwellings, fences, buildings or other property on the land.(Note: the lessor may wish to designate camping site or mark trees to be cut for firewood). Lessee agrees to repair any damage he causes and to return the land and property to the lessor in its prior condition at lessee's expense.

6. State that the lessee(s) is/are responsible for posting the land.

Sample clause:

The lessee may post signs at his own expense. Text and size of such signs is to be approved by the lessor. When placing signs lessee may not drive nails into trees or buildings. (Signs should not be offensive or create an eyesore. Thin wire staples that penetrate only the bark will not damage timber).

7. Protect timber from damage by nails.

Sample clause:

Lessee may not drive nails or other metal objects into trees for building deer stands or other purposes.

8. Comment on trespass and wildfire.

Sample clause:

Lessee agrees to help protect said lands from trespass and fire. Lessee will make an effort to put out suppress or report any wildfires that may occur on the property.

9. Require that lessee(s) observe wildlife laws.

Sample clause:

Lessee shall strictly observe all wildlife laws whether state federal, or local. Conviction of a wildlife law violation by any single member of hunting group will cause loss of lease immediately.

10. Include a clause to limit your liability for accidents.

Sample clause:

It is understood that the lessee accepts .the land in an "as is" condition and further the lessee understands that hunting is dangerous activity and that there may be hidden hazards such as holes, fence wire, snakes, wells, swamps ponds, harmful plants, unauthorized careless persons on the land, other hunters, or other risks that may injure him or cause death and the lessee assumes all these risks as his own responsibility. Lessee agrees to hold claims of loss damages liabilities or lessor harmless against any and all claims of loss, damages, liabilities or other expense of or as a result of lessees occupancy and activities.

Note: A clause such as this is not a guarantee that the lessor cannot be sued--but it usually increases the chances of winning. The best protection against liability claims is insurance. Although the clause says that hunting is a dangerous activity statistically hunting is safer than many other recreational activities such as driving fishing certain sports etc.

11. Include a clause to prevent littering.

Sample clause:

Lessee agrees that lands covered by this lease shall be kept free of litter at all times.

12. Reserve the right to cancel this lease.

Sample clause:

Lessor retains the right to cancel this lease immediately and make no refunds if in his opinion lessee has not complied strictly with the provisions of this agreement. Lessor may cancel this lease for any other reason upon 30 days written notice to the lessee and in such case the lessor shall return to the lessee a pro rata share of the rent based on the unexpired portion of the lease. It is understood by the lessee that a letter of cancellation of lease shall be addressed to _________________ and this will be accepted as sufficient notice by all parties named herein and after expiration of notice period all parties named will immediately cease to exercise all rights stated in this lease.

13. Include a clause to state the dates covered by the lease.

Sample clause:

Unless this lease is canceled as herein provided the lessee(s) may begin to use the land on ____(Date)____ and all rights granted shall cease on ____(Date)____.

Note: A lease can be for an entire year, hunting season, week or a single visit. Some landowners allow camping and picnicking for the entire year. Such extra benefits can help develop a better rapport between lessor and lessees.

14. Have all parties sign the lease.


(If the hunters are not signing in your presence, the use of a notary public is recommended.)

Executed by _________[Lessor(s)]__________ this ___________ day of __________________.

Acceptance: We acknowledge ourselves the undersigned lessee(s) to be bound by all terms and conditions of this agreement. All persons using the property must sign. Persons who have not signed this lease are not authorized to hunt on .nor enter upon the property described herein.

Hunters' signatures and addresses


Notary Public:



Sample clauses listed here are intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive. The statements or opinions contained herein are in no way to be construed to be those of an attorney-at-law or other legal counsel and are not to be interpreted as such. Concerns raised by the preceding sample clauses are intended merely as drafting considerations for counsel.


Sincere thanks to Claude Leonard Davis and Forest E. Kellogg for their helpful suggestions on the preparation of this sample lease.

Keeping Informed

Lonnie E. Varnedoe, Jr.
Professor, Forest Recreation
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

Forestland management and assistance programs are available to Georgia landowners from a variety of sources. Public programs are sponsored by governmental agencies and private programs are sponsored by the majority of the forest industries. Additional forest management assistance is also available from consulting foresters for a fee. Other forms of assistance include associations of forest landowners that provide landowners with information and programs on forest management. Help is available, but remember, practicing good forest stewardship is a choice you have to make.

Public Forestry Education and Technical Assistance

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service (CES)

The Cooperative Extension Service (CES) is a three-way partnership between The United States Department of Agriculture, the University of Georgia, and county governments to share, plan and finance Extension work. Extension agents have the latest scientific information from state and federal research centers and the expertise to convert it to practical answers to everyday problems. Extension specialists are available in most areas of farming plus forestry, wildlife management, and wood products. Extension also sponsors Georgia's 4-H program, which is a youth education and development program.

Extension provides training at the county, state and regional level with workshops, field days and conferences in such basic forest management topics as forest regeneration, forest protection, timber harvesting, and the use of prescribed fire and the herbicides. There are also training programs on use of multiple resources such as forest recreation, business management, Christmas tree production, urban forestry, hunting enterprises and wood processing and utilization. Extension also offers publications on forest management, taxation, reforestation, fuelwood, record keeping, harvesting methods, insects and diseases and other topics of interest to landowners.

County extension agents, located in each county in the State, are local representatives of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. For assistance or information about Extension and forestry, contact your local Extension office listed under county government in your telephone book.

Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC)

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) offers free, on-site, forest management, assistance and advice on tree planting, timber stand improvement, timber sales, harvesting, tree marking, insects, diseases and current market conditions. Commission foresters can develop a personalized management plan for your forest. However, their assistance is limited by law. If a more in-depth service is needed, for your property, the Georgia Forestry Commission can furnish you with a list of names of consulting foresters, timber buyers and vendors in your area.

The GFC is also responsible for fire control in most counties in the state with the exception of the large metropolitan counties where the local fire departments have this responsibility. The county GFC offices provide publications on forestry and are a good source for pine and hardwood tree seedlings. Contact your local unit listed in the telephone under Georgia State Government. The address for the web site for the GFC is

Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for managing and promoting the wise use of Georgia's natural resources. These include such areas as the air, land and water resources, its abundant wildlife, its 100-mile coastline and marshlands and all state parks and historic sites. DNR is also involved with special programs such as the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Program and the Natural Heritage Inventory. These programs are dedicated to identifying, improving, protecting and restoring habitat for Georgia's nongame, rare and endangered plants and animals.

The Wildlife Resources Division of the DNR offers assistance to forest landowners interested in their wildlife assets by providing information on the development of wildlife management plans for both game and nongame species. For more information on the services available from the DNR, call or write:

Department of Natural Resources
205 Butler St. SE
Suite 1252
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
(404) 656-3500

The address for the web site for the DNR is

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Service coordinates local conservation districts and assists landowners in planning for the proper use of their land. They will also help you develop a plan to coordinate the management of the resources on your land, including wildlife, soil, water, and timber.

The NRCS provides technical assistance to determine your short and long-term needs, your objectives, your economic desires and the proper use of your natural resources and coordinates them into specific recommendations for a property.

For more information about services available from the NRCS, contact your local office listed in the telephone book under United States Government. The address for the web site for the NRCS is

Publicly Supported Financial Assistance

Farm Services Agency (FSA)

The Farm Services Agency (FSA) administers several programs that provide incentive payments (on a cost-sharing basis) for practices that conserve forestland resources. These include Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and the Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) which will ensure future forest productivity. These cost-sharing programs offer forest landowners a flat fee or a percentage of the total costs of tree planting, timber stand improvement, timber and wildlife habitat protection, forest management plans and wildlife habitat improvement. The address for the web site for the FSA is Click on the conservation programs.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a voluntary program authorized by the Food Security Act of 1985 (Farm Bill), continued in the 1990 Farm Bill and the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform act (FAIR) of 1996 to retire highly erodible land from row crop production. The program aims to reduce soil erosion, curb production of surplus commodities, enhance fish and wildlife habitats. It also aims to reduce sedimentation in streams and along roadsides and provides income support to farmers. The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) makes annual rental payments based on the agriculture rental value of the land and provides cost-share assistance in an amount equal to not more than 50 percent of the participant's cost in establishing approved practices. The durations of contracts are from 10 to 15 years. The land must meet specific qualifications to be included in the program.

There are two components of the CRP Program. One is a general program that offered annual rental payments and cost-share assistance for those that established long-term NOT CLEAR: resource conserving covers on eligible in years 1985 through 1995. Although some landowners were able to extend their participation in the program after the 1995 date, all participants that enrolled in the program in 1985, 1986, and 1987 were reevaluated in September 1997. After this date, landowners participating in the program will have to rebid their land and meet the new criteria for the program.

The other component of the CRP program is a continuous sign-up for high priority conservation practices on eligible land. Bid offers are automatically accepted provided the acreage and producer meet certain eligibility requirements. The per-acre rental rate may not exceed the CCC'S maximum payment amount.

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) provides technical, financial and educational assistance to farmers to address significant natural resources concerns and objectives. The program is available primarily in priority areas identified by local work groups involving local conservation districts, USDA's NRCS and FSA, the Cooperative Extension Service and other agencies interested in natural resource conservation. By law, the program is to be delivered through the priority areas. Such efforts will direct more resources to address serious and critical environmental needs and concerns. Initially soil, water, air, plant, animal and natural resource concerns will have the same priority. But, higher priority is given to areas where state or local governments offer financial or technical assistance and to areas where agricultural improvements will help producers comply with federal or state environmental goals and laws. By statute, 50 percent of the program funds will be targeted to agriculture's conservation needs.

A list of the current priority areas is available at the local NRCS or FSA office.

Forest Stewardship Program (FSP)

Federally funded through the U.S. Forest Service this program is in partnership with the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC), the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) and the Cooperative Extension Service. The Georgia Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) was started in 1990 as a part of a nationwide initiative of the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. Its purposes are to encourage non-industrial forest landowners to practice better stewardship of their forest resources through multiple use management techniques and to promote the value of non-timber resources such as wildlife, clean water, forest recreation and aesthetics.

The Stewardship Incentive Program (SIP) is the cost share part of the FSP which helps non-industrial forest landowners implement the forestry practices recommended in the their FSP plan.

Forestry Incentives Program (FIP)

You may obtain cost-share assistance for carrying out approved practices aimed at increased timber production on more productive sites. This is a federally funded program through the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS). Applications are made by filing a request with the local county NRCS offices during specific sign-up periods. Landowners may receive up to 65 percent of the cost of implementing forestry practices. The two forestry practices in the FIP are planting trees and improving a stand of trees. Site preparation is an authorized part of tree planting if certified by the state forester. The stand improvement practice may include precommercial thinning, seedlings and young tree release and site preparation for natural regeneration and erosion control.

Rural Development (RD)

The Rural Development (RD) is a United States Department of Agriculture agency authorized to make loans to those unable to obtain adequate credit from other sources on reasonable terms. To be eligible for a loan, you must derive a substantial portion of your total income from farming (this can be tree farming). The operation must be a proven business in the local area and funds may be used for buying, improving and developing woodlands. Loans are also available for operating expenses and equipment. Interest rates vary, but are usually lower than commercial rates.

Softwood Timber (ST) Loans are available to RD borrowers who have distressed Farmer Program (FP) loans and who own 50 or more acres of marginal land. ST loans are designed to reamortize and defer payments on FP Loans for financially stressed farmers. Contact the RD supervisor in your county for more information.

Farm Credit Systems

Farm Credit Systems (FCS) and agriculture have a long-standing partnership, whereby Farm Credit has provided agriculture with a source of sound, dependable credit. Each Farm Credit office is a part of a national network of farmer-owned lending institutions. When you obtain a Farm Credit loan, you become a member of a local Farm Credit association - a business owned and controlled by its member-borrowers who elect directors that serve as a policy making board for the local association. Twenty-year loans to establish and grow timber are possible, but annual arrangements must be made to repay the loan during the growth period. In Georgia, there are five associations spread throughout the state that have branch offices serving territories made up of the surrounding counties. These Georgia Farm Credit associations may be contacted at the following addresses:

North Georgia Farm Credit, ACA
501 Broad St.
P.O. Box 2536
Gainesville, GA 30503
(770) 536-3660 Fax (770) 536-4447

South Central Farm Credit, ACA
826 Bellevue Ave.
P.O. Box 1548
Dublin, GA 31040-1548
(912) 272-4603 Fax (912) 275-3550

Southeast Georgia farm Credit, ACA
40 S. Main St.
P.O. Box 718
Statesboro, GA 30459
(912) 764-9091 Fax (912) 764-4957

Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, ACA
117 S. Donalson St.
P.O. Box 769
Bainbridge, GA 31718
(912) 246-8032 Fax (912) 246-4229

West Georgia Farm Credit, ACA
296 N. Main St.
Madison, GA 30650
(706) 342-4222 Fax (706) 342-2580

Private Forestry Assistance Programs

Consulting Foresters

Consulting foresters offer a wide range of forest management services. A consultant is hired by a landowner on a fee basis and works directly for the individual. Consultants usually provide more in-depth and comprehensive services than those provided by foresters employed by public agencies.

Choosing a consultant is similar to choosing other professionals to work for you. Make sure he or she is a registered forester and ask for references of other landowners who have used him as a consultant. Remember, a consulting forester works for you and should do the best job possible. When hiring, be certain that the consultant has no conflicts of interest that might prevent him from acting solely on your behalf. For more information on choosing a consultant, obtain a copy of circular 389, Forestry Consultants & Your Timber from your county extension office.

Lists of Consulting Foresters

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) publishes a list of consulting foresters registered and working in the state. You can obtain a copy by contacting your county Extension office or your local Georgia Forestry Commission unit.

The Association of Consulting Foresters of America (ACF) also provides a membership directory. To belong to this association, a consulting forester must meet educational and experience requirements determined by the association. As a result, the association endorses the professional qualifications of its foresters. To obtain a copy of the directory, write to:

Association of Consulting Foresters of America
1403 King Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2714
Phone (703) 548-0990 Fax (703) 548-6395

The Society of American Foresters also publishes a directory of consulting foresters who are members of the organization. This directory has a section listing the forester's expertise and geographic areas he or she covers. To obtain the SAF directory, contact:

Society of American Foresters
5400 Grosvenor Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 897-8720 Fax (301) 897-3690

Industrial Forestry Programs

Some companies within the forest products industry also offer technical assistance to forest landowners in their marketing areas in the management of their forests. Each program differs in assistance provided and the terms under which the assistance is given. Companies offering services such as timber management planning, timber tax calculation and timber cruising usually do so at no direct cost. Other costs for pre harvest or post harvest activities that involve heavy equipment and manpower, such as road building, slash disposal or surveying may be deducted from the price you will be paid for your timber.

Companies that offer assistance programs often request that they have the "first right of refusal." This is usually interpreted as the first opportunity to purchase any forest products sold from the land. Others ask for a more formal agreement.

For more information on industrial assistance programs available in your area, contact your county Extension office.

American Tree Farm System

The American Tree Farm System is a privately funded, national tree-growing effort encouraging excellent forestry on private lands. The system operates as an informal partnership encouraging resource management professionals from all forest disciplines to work together to assist private tree farmers.

The American Tree Farm System is managed by the American Forest Foundation and operates through cosponsors and state and national committees. The Georgia Tree Farm Program is sponsored by The Georgia Forestry Association. Funds for the program come from the forest industry, forest landowners and others interested in encouraging good forestry on private lands.

Lands certified as a Tree Farm must meet standards set by the American Tree Farm System and are managed for the growth and harvest of repeated forest crops that is adequately protected from fire, insects, disease and destructive grazing. Although many Tree Farms in Georgia include pine plantations, a number of farms include natural stands managed for wildlife and aesthetics.

Prospective Tree Farms are certified by a forester after an inspection of the forest. Existing Tree Farms are reinspected every five years to ensure their compliance with the program standards. Unmanaged forests are also accepted as "Pioneer Tree Farms" if the owner has a written management plan prepared and states his or her intent to follow the plan. Inspections are done free of charge by foresters representing the Tree Farm program and certified Tree Farmers receive the free quarterly magazine, Tree Farmer. More information about Georgia's Tree Farm program may be obtained by writing to the Georgia Forestry Commission at the following address:

Georgia Forestry Commission
P. O. Box 819
Macon, GA 31202-0819
(912) 751-3485 or 1-800-GA-TREES

Forestry Associations

Georgia Forestry Association

The primary objective of the Georgia Forestry Association (GFA) is to promote the best interest of forest landowners, suppliers and consumers of wood fiber in Georgia. The GFA encourages protection, management, utilization and marketing of forest resources within the state. It also encourages education and research relating to those resources and works with association members, the Georgia General Assembly, state and federal agencies and other groups and individuals interested in this objective.

The GFA is funded by membership dues and is administered by elected officers, directors and a professional staff. This group promotes forestry and landowner interests through the production of the newsletter "GFA News," legislative reports, an annual convention and other informative services. For more information contact:

Georgia Forestry Association, Inc.
Suite 505, 500 Pinnacle Ct.
Norcross, GA 30071-3634
(770) 416-7621

Forest Landowners Association

The Forest Landowners Association is a grassroots organization of timberland owners, large and small, with active members in virtually every timbered county in the South. It is the only organization created for the specific purpose of speaking for southern timberland owners at local, regional and national levels.

Created in 1941, the Forest Landowners Association is a proactive, progressive, hard-hitting organization of timberland owners who own and operate more than 47 million acres of timberland in 17 southern and eastern states. The organization produces a biennial landowner manual, holds an annual convention and publishes 6 issues of the Forest Landowner magazine each year. For more information on the Forest Landowners Association contact:

Steve Newton, Executive Vice President
Forest Landowners Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 95385
Atlanta, GA 30347-0385
(404) 325-2954 (800)-325-2954 fax:(404)325-2955

National Woodland Owners Association

The National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA) is a nationwide organization of nonindustrial private woodland owners and has offices in the Washington, D.C. area. Membership includes landowners in all 50 states, and the association is affiliated with state and county woodland owner/forestry associations throughout the United States.

Founded by nonindustrial private woodland owners in 1983, NWOA is independent of the forest products industry and forestry agencies. It works with all organizations to promote nonindustrial forestry and the best interests of woodland owners. NWOA is a member of the National Council on Private Forests, the Natural Resources Council of America and the National Forestry Network.

Membership costs of $25.00 provide mailings of four issues of National Woodlands Magazine and eight issues of the newsletter Woodland Report. The newsletter includes late-breaking forestry news from Washington, D.C. and state capitals, (written for woodland owners by woodland owners).

Membership also includes an introductory visit from a professional forester in states where available on land of 20 acres or more. For more information contact:

National Woodland Owners Association
374 Maple Ave. E. Suite 210
Vienna, Virginia 22180-4751
(703) 255-2700 1-800-476-8733 or 1-800-GRO-TREE

If you are still in doubt about where to obtain assistance, your county extension office will help you contact the proper source.


Lonnie E. Varnedoe, Jr.
Professor, Forest Recreation

Adapted from an unpublished work by

Ronald E. True
Technical Services Forester
Alabama River Woodlands, Clairborn, Alabama

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Acre  - a unit of land 43,560 square feet or 10 square chains. A square acre measures 208.7 feet on each side.

Ad valorem tax  - annual taxes assessed by the county government on the basis of land and timber value.

Annosus root rot  - a fungus that kills trees by decaying the bark and wood of the roots and root collar. It spreads most easily in the winter months during thinning or other management operations.

Artificial regeneration  - establishing a new forest by planting seedlings or by direct seeding.


Backfire - a prescribed fire set to move against the wind and back into an area, or a fire intentionally set ahead of an advancing wildfire to reduce its intensity and stop it from spreading.

Basal area (of a tree) - the crosssectional area in square feet of the tree trunk at breast height (4½ feet above the ground), computed by the following formula:

BA(ft2) = (Pi r2)

where BA = basal area; Pi = 3.1416; r = radius of the tree in feet

Basal area (of a forest) - the sum of the basal area of individual trees on an acre of forest land.

Board foot - the lumber measurement of a piece of sawn wood measuring 1 x 12 x 12 inches. The term is also used as a measure when estimating the amount of lumber in trees, sawlogs and veneer logs. Board foot volume in a piece of lumber is computed using the following formula:

BE = (length in feet x width in inches x thickness in inches) / 12


Chip-n-saw - trees larger than pulpwood trees, but smaller than sawtimber trees (10 to 12 inches D.B.H.). These trees are used to produce pulp chips and lumber.

Clearcut - a harvesting method which removes all the trees (regardless of size) from an area. After clearcutting, seedlings are commonly planted on the site.

Codominant trees - trees with crowns forming the general level of crown cover and receiving full light from above, but little from the sides.

Controlled burning - a prescribed burn started intentionally by a landowner to accomplish some particular  purpose and over which he exercises some surveillance or control

Cord - a volume measure that, when cut and stacked, is 4 x 4 x 8 feet, or 128 cubic feet of space. Cord volume in standing trees averages 70 to 90 cubic feet, because only the tree volume is measured (the empty spaces that form when wood is stacked are not included). Pulpwood volume is typically measured in cords. A face or short cord is 4 x 8 feet of wood less than four feet long and is used for firewood.

Crook - a defect in trees created by an abrupt bend. Crooks must be removed before a tree is cut for lumber.

Crown - the portion of a tree made of branches and foliage.

Cubic foot - a volume measurement containing one cubic foot of wood, such as a piece of wood one foot on a side, and containing six to 10 usable board feet of lumber because some wood is lost as sawdust and shavings.

Cull tree - a live tree of merchantable size that is unmerchantable because of defect or decay.


Deciduous tree - a tree that loses all of its leaves in fall or with leaves that die and stay on the tree until spring. These are primarily hardwoods such as oak, hickory, ash or sweetgum. Some magnolias and American holly are evergreen hardwoods and are not classified as deciduous trees.

Defect - any irregularity or imperfection in a tree, log or lumber that lowers its quality, strength or value. Common defects include crooked trunks, forked limbs, heartrot, lumber stains and splits in boards.

Diameter breast height (D.B.H.) - tree diameter 4 ½ feet above the ground, usually measured in inches.

Diameter limit cutting - a method of harvesting by which all merchantable trees above a specified diameter are harvested. This method is a form of high grading and is not generally recommended.

Dibble - or planting bar, a tool with a 10 to 12inch blade for handplanting tree seedlings.

Direct seeding - a method of artificial regeneration with tree seeds sown on the surface of a prepared site.

Dominant trees - trees with crowns extending above the general level of the stand canopy and receiving full sunlight from above and pare the sides. These are usually the largest trees in the forest.


Easement - an interest or rift to limits of land granted by the owner to another party, usually to allow passage across property.

Energy wood - wood that is used for heating and include forest, industrial, urban and other wood wastes as well as whole tree chips.

Environment - the existing condition of the surroundings that results from a combination of climate, soil, topography, plants and animals. An organism's environment influences its form and survival.

Erosion - the process by which soil particles are detached and transported by water, wind and gravity to some point downslope or downstream.

Evenaged forest - a forest containing trees that are about the same age (within two to five years). Pine plantations are evenaged forests that result from clearcut harvesting and reforestation with seedlings.


Firebreak - a barrier of exposed mineral soil, made by a bulldozer pulling a fireplow, designed to stop a wildfire, or to act as a line from which to work during firefighting efforts or when setting prescribed burns.

Forester - a trained professional who supervises the development, care and management of forest resources.

Forest management - (generally), giving the forest proper care so it stays healthy and vigorous and provides the products and values the landowner desires, and (technically), applying forestry principles, practices and business techniques such as accounting and benefitcost analysis to forest management.

Fusiform rust - a fungus infection that causes cankers or swellings on the stem and limbs of pine trees. Although seldom fatal, it often slows growth, and provides an entry site for insects and reduces tree value.


Gum - the raw product (oleoresin) exuded from a living pine tree when a wound is made through the trunk into living tissues (see naval stores).


Hardpan - a dense or cemented soil horizon often found on old row crop land. Hardpans affect seedling development by stopping root penetration.

Hardwood - generally, all species of trees that lose their leaves in winter. Some hardwoods, such as magnolia, retain leaves throughout the year. Soft hardwoods are less dense hardwoods, such as red maple, hackberry, yellow poplar, magnolia, blackgum and sycamore. Hard hardwoods are denser hardwoods, such as birch, hickory, oak, dogwood and black locust, which are often used for furniture, pallets and firewood.

Harvest - removing trees in an area to obtain income from the wood products. In some cases a harvest may be necessary to develop the environment essential to regenerate a forest.

Headfire - a fire moving with the wind. Headfires can be dangerous in the wild.

Heartwood - the wood extending outward from the pith to the sapwood, the cells of which no longer participate in the life processes of the tree. Heartwood may contain phenolic compounds, gums, resins and other materials that usually make it darker and more decay resistant than sapwood.

High grading - harvesting the best quality trees and leaving lowquality trees to dominate the site.


Improvement cut - a type of intermediate harvest that does not yield a marketable product, but improves the remaining trees by removing undesirable trees and other vegetation that could harm the growing stand.

Intermediate trees - trees shorter than those in the dominant or codominant classes, with crowns below or extending into the crown cover of codominant and dominant trees, receiving little direct light from above and none from the sides. These trees usually have small crowns that are considerably crowded on the sides.


Juvenile wood - wood from the five to 20 growth rings nearest the center of the tree, with variable specific gravity, fiber length and strength characteristics and generally in higher proportions in compression wood.


Landing - also called the bank, brow or deck, the area close to a main road where logs are brought during harvest operations. Trees are skidded to the landing and delimbed, bucked and loaded onto trucks.

Littleleaf disease - a disease of shortleaf pine and occasionally of loblolly pine. Infected trees have yellowish foliage, decreased needle length and shoot growth and shortened lifespan.

Logging slash - unwanted, generally unmarketable wood such as large limbs, tops, cull logs and stumps that remain in the forest after timber harvesting.

Log rule - a table providing estimates for the amount of lumber that can be sawed from logs of a given length and diameter. Three rules commonly used in the Eastern United States are the Doyle rule (used for hardwoods), the International rule (the most accurate) and the Scribner rule (used for pines).

Lump sum sale - a sale in which a specified volume of standing trees is sold for a cash price before harvesting begins. The price set is paid regardless of the volume of timber actually removed from the tract.


MBF - abbreviation for 1,000 board feet, MBF is a unit of measure for tree volume or sawed lumber.

Merchantable height - the height of a merchantable tree from a point six inches above the groundline to a point where the trunk diameter is too small to obtain a particular product. The product cut from the timber determines the merchantable height. If the minimum usable diameter of pulpwood is four inches, the merchantable height of a pulpwood tree would be its height, minus six inches, to a trunk diameter of four inches.

Merchantable timber - a stand of timber of sufficient size and volume per acre to be harvested profitably.

Moisture content - the amount of water contained in wood, expressed as a percentage of the weight of the ovendry wood.

Mortality - death or destruction of forest trees by competition, disease, insects, fire or other factors.

Multiple use forest - a forest managed for two or more objectives, such as timber production, forage production, wildlife habitat and recreation.


Natural stand - a stand of trees resulting from natural seed fall or sprouting.

Naval stores - products derived from pitch extracted from slash and longleaf pines. These products were historically used to construct wooden sailing vessels, but now are used for a variety of products.

Needlecast - a disease of needlebearing conifers. The first indication of the disease is a discoloration and browning of the needles. Trees are seldom killed by this disease.

Non-commercial species - tree species of poor form or inferior quality that normally do not develop into trees suitable for wood products.


Old growth - timber from a mature, naturally established forest. Little old growth timber remains in Georgia, because much of the state's forests have been harvested at least once in the past hundred years. The lumber from old growth is usually straight, free of knots and of superior quality.

Overstocking - when a forest contains too many trees per acre. Young pine stands can easily support up to 700 trees per acre, but mature stands (about 30 years old) cannot support more than 500 trees per acre. Overstocking reduces growth, causes trees to die and makes the stand more susceptible to disease and insects.


Pesticides - chemicals used to control forest pests. These include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.

Plantation - a forested area established by planting or direct seeding and usually made of a single species, most often pine.

Planting machine - a mechanical device used to plant trees. The machine has one or two riders that handle the seedlings. The machine creates a furrow and the rider(s) inserts a seedling into the opening. The machine closes the furrow and firms the soil around the planted seedlings without stopping. Planters are usually pulled by tractors, skidders or dozers on well cleared sites.

Pole timber - trees used to make poles and posts. Most post timber is at least five inches in D.B.H., smaller than sawtimber and of good form and vigor.

Precommercial thinning - a thinning that produces no marketable timber but incurs time and/or money costs   to conduct. Thinning removes poorly formed, diseased and unmerchantable trees from the stand to allow more sunlight and growing space for the remaining timber.

Prescribed burning - the controlled use of fire to achieve forest management objectives. Prescribed fire can be used to reduce hazardous fuel levels, control vegetation, improve visibility and improve wildlife habitat.

Pulpwood - wood cut or prepared to make wood pulp, paper, fiberboard or similar products. Trees more than five inches in D.B.H. that are unsuitable because of size, crooks or other defects are sold as pulpwood.


Ranger - a trained Forestry Commission employee who supervises a county forest office. Rangers supervise fire suppression activities in the county, provide forest management information, assist with reforestation activities and encourage proper forest management to timberland owners.

Reforestation - reestablishing a forest by planting or seeding on a cutover tract of land or managing stands for natural regeneration.

Rotation - the length of time required to establish a stand of timber and grow it to maturity. Typical rotation lengths vary, depending on the desired product. A typical rotation for pulpwood is 20 to 25 years and a typical sawtimber rotation is 30 to 100 years, depending on landowner preference.


Salvage cut - harvesting dead or endangered trees to save their economic value.

Salutation cut - harvesting or killing trees infected by or highly susceptible to insects or diseases to protect the rest of the forest stand.

Saplings - Live trees of commercial species that are one to five inches in D.B.H. and of good form and vigor.

Sapwood - the lightcolored wood closest to the bark on a crosssection of a tree. The sapwood is composed of long tubes that conduct water and minerals from the roots to the tree crown. Under most conditions, the sapwood is more susceptible to decay than is the heartwood.

Sawlog - logs at least 8-feet long that are sound, straight and with a minimum diameter inside bark of  six inches for softwoods and eight inches for hardwoods, or other size/defect combinations.

Sawtimber trees - trees containing at least one 12foot sawlog or two eightfoot sawlogs, and meeting mill specifications for quality, such as a minimum of nine inches D.B.H. for softwoods and 11 inches for hardwoods.

Seedling - a tree less than one inch in diameter and usually less than three years old.

Seedtree harvest - a type of regeneration harvest in which six to eight trees are left per acre to provide a seed source on the harvested tract. Trees left for seed should be of superior quality, healthy and vigorous seed  producers. In most cases, the old stand is partially removed in a single harvest cut that leaves only the seed trees standing. The remaining trees are left for three to five years, until a stand of seedlings becomes established from seed. When the new stand is established, the seed trees are harvested, leaving the young seedlings to produce a new, evenaged stand of timber.

Shelterwood cut - a cut leaving 20 to 40 trees per acre on a tract to act as a seed source. This greater number of trees reduces the chance of loss or damage through windthrow and ensures better seed dispersal. The greater volume available may bring more money at harvest.

Silviculture - the scientific practice of establishing, tending and reproducing forest stand with desired characteristics. The practice is based on knowledge of tree characteristics and environmental requirements.

Site index - a measure of the productive capacity of a particular site. For natural stands, site index is the total height (in feet) of the dominant tree at 50 years of age. For planted stands, it is the height of the dominant tree at 25 years of age.

Site preparation - preparing land for planting, direct seeding or natural reproduction by clearing, herbicide application, burning, dishing, bedding, windrowing and/or raking.

Softwood - trees of the order Coniferales, usually evergreen, conebearing and with needles or scalelike leaves. Pines, spruces, firs and cedars are common softwoods. Bald cypress is a deciduous conifer.

Stagnation - when too many trees are competing for resources in the same area. Stagnant stands of timber have high mortality, grow slowly and provide little or no income for the landowner. Stagnation can be avoided in planted stands through proper spacing, judicious thinning and the use of good growing stock.

Stand density - a measure of the amount of timber growing on a site, expressed on a per acre basis in number of trees, basal area or volume.

Stocking - the number of trees in a forest stand. The stocking level is open compared to the desired number of  trees for best growth and management and is referred to as partially stocked, well stocked or overstocked.

Stumpage - the value of timber as it stands uncut in the woods or, in a general sense, the standing timber itself. Stumpage is also the sum paid for the tree as it stands on the stump.

Succession - the replacement of one plant community by another until ecological stability (climax forest) is achieved. An abandoned farm left to maturity would go through different states of vegetative cover and finally reach the climax forest stage after 100 or more years.

Suppressed trees - overtopped trees with crowns entirely below the general canopy level, receiving no direct light from above or from the sides, and which have lost the ability to resume normal growth if released.


Tally - a count of trees, logs or other products used to determine harvestable volume and products.

Thinning - removal of some trees from a stand to encourage growth among the remaining timber. Commercial thinnings provide the landowner some financial return, but precommercial thinnings do not. Methods used for thinning timber include row thinning (every third or fifth row of trees is harvested), selection thinning (selected trees are removed) and combination thinning (row and selection methods are used).

Timber cruise - an inventory of a stand of timber to determine the harvestable products and volume. Cruises should be conducted before timber sales to estimate the value of the stumpage.

Timber marking - selecting and indicating, usually by a paint spot, trees to be cut or left in a harvest.

Timber stand improvement (TSI) - improving the quality of a forest stand by removing cull trees and brush to leave a stand of good quality trees. Cull trees may be removed by chemicals, fires, girdling or cutting.

Tract - an acreage containing one forest type, an acreage enclosed by a fence and managed separately or a segment of forest burned at one time or having undergone some change, making it distinctly identifiable.

Tree length - a tree, minus the unmerchantable top and branches. Also, a logging harvesting system by which the entire stem to a minimum diameter is cut and hauled in one piece to the mill.


Undergrowth - small trees and shrubby plants growing under a forest canopy.

Unevenaged stand - a stand in which three or more age classes are represented.


Volume table - a table of estimates of the average volume in cords or board feet in a tree of a given diameter and height. Timber inventory reports combine volume tables and timber cruise information.


Weight scaling  measuring the weight of a forest product such as logs or pulpwood to determine payment by weighing on certified scales the trucks that haul the product before and after unloading.

Wholetree chipping - a method of converting whole trees into chips for use as pulp material or fuel for energy. This system can result in reforestation costs substantially lower than those of conventional harvest systems. A greater proportion of the standing timber is utilized and less residue is left to be dealt with during subsequent site preparation activities.

Wildfire - forest fire burning out of control, regardless of how it started.

Number of Trees per Acre by Spacing

Kim D. Coder
Professor Silvics/Ecology
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia

In natural resources many management concepts, as well as an evaluation and control methods, utilize tree numbers per acre as a quantitative measure. The number of trees per acre vary by the distance between each tree. In plantations, the number of trees per acre would be determined by knowing the spacing within a row and the spacing between rows. In planting systems, the initial number of trees per acre can be estimated by their spacing. Within general forest management, the spacing between trees and the number of trees per acre can be used to estimate timber volumes and values, prescribe silvicultural treatments, and provide simple examples of forest growth dynamics.

Below are presented two tables that determine the number of trees per acre based upon tree spacing in two directions (along two axes perpendicular to each other). The spacing distances are in feet. The first table (Table SNSQ) shows the number of trees per acre when trees are on square or equal spacings. The second table (Table SN) is in two parts and shows the number of trees per acre at many combinations of spacings.

Table 16: Approximate number of trees per acre based upon the distance in feet between stems in a square grid rounded to the nearest whole tree. for other spacing combinations, see Table 17.

Spacing (feet) Number of trees/acre
1x1 43,560
2x2 10,890
3x3 4,840
4x4 2,723
5x5 1,742
6x6 1,210
7x7 889
8x8 681
9x9 538
10x10 436
11x11 360
12x12 303
13x13 258
14x14 222
15x15 194
16x16 170
17x17 151
18x18 134
19x19 121
20x20 109
25x25 70
30x30 48
35x35 36
40x40 27
45x45 22
50x50 17
55x55 14
60x60 12
65x65 10
70x70 9
75x75 8
80x80 7
85x85 6
90x90 5
95x95 5
100x100 4
125x125 3
150x150 2
Table 17: Approximate number of trees per acre (rounded to the nearest whole tree) based upon the spacing distance between trees in feet.
1ft 2ft 3ft 4ft 5ft 6ft 7ft 8ft 9ft 10ft 11ft 12ft 13ft 14ft 15ft 16ft 17ft 18ft 19ft 20ft 21ft 22ft 23ft 24ft 25ft 30ft 35ft 40ft 45ft 50ft 55ft 60ft 65ft 70ft 75ft 80ft 85ft 90ft 95ft 100ft 125ft 150ft 175ft 200ft 225ft 250ft
1ft 43,560 21,780 14,520 10,890 8,712 7,260 6,223 5,445 4,840 4,356 3,960 3,630 3,351 3,111 2,904 2,723 2,562 2,420 2,293 2,178 2,074 1,980 1,894 1,815 1,742 1,452 1,245 1,089 968 871 792 726 670 622 581 545 512 484 459 436 348 290 249 218 194 174
2ft 21,780 10,890 7,260 5,445 4,356 3,630 3,111 2,723 2,420 2,178 1,980 1,815 1,675 1,556 1,452 1,361 1,281 1,210 1,146 1,089 1,037 990 947 908 871 726 622 545 484 436 396 363 335 311 290 272 256 242 229 218 174 145 124 109 97 87
3ft 14,520 7,260 4,840 3,630 2,904 2,420 2,074 1,815 1,613 1,452 1,320 1,210 1,117 1,037 968 908 854 807 764 726 691 660 631 605 581 484 415 363 323 290 264 242 223 207 194 182 171 161 153 145 116 97 83 73 65 58
4ft 10,890 5,445 3,630 2,723 2178 1,815 1,556 1,361 1,210 1,089 990 908 838 778 726 681 641 605 573 545 519 495 473 454 436 363 311 272 242 218 198 182 168 156 145 136 128 121 115 109 87 73 62 54 48 44
5ft 8,712 4,356 2,904 2,178 1,742 1,452 1,245 1,089 968 871 792 726 670 622 581 545 512 484 459 436 415 396 379 363 348 290 249 218 194 174 158 145 134 124 116 109 102 97 92 87 70 58 50 44 39 35
6ft 7,260 3,630 2,420 1,815 1,452 1,210 1,037 908 807 726 660 605 558 519 484 454 427 403 382 363 346 330 316 303 290 242 207 182 161 145 132 121 112 104 97 91 85 81 76 73 58 48 41 36 32 29
7ft 6,223 3,111 2,074 1,556 1,245 1,037 889 778 691 622 566 519 479 444 415 389 366 346 328 311 296 283 271 259 249 207 178 156 138 124 113 104 96 89 83 78 73 69 66 62 50 41 36 31 28 25
8ft 5,445 2,723 1,815 1,361 1,089 908 778 681 605 545 495 454 419 389 363 340 320 303 287 272 259 248 237 227 218 182 156 136 121 109 99 91 84 78 73 68 64 61 57 54 44 36 31 27 24 22
9ft 4,840 2,420 1,613 1,210 968 807 691 605 538 484 440 403 372 346 323 303 285 269 255 242 230 220 210 202 194 161 138 121 108 97 88 81 74 69 65 61 57 54 51 48 39 32 28 24 22 19
10ft 4,356 2,178 1,452 1,089 871 726 622 545 484 436 396 363 335 311 290 272 256 242 229 218 207 198 189 182 174 145 124 109 97 87 79 73 67 62 58 54 51 48 46 44 35 29 25 22 19 17
11ft 3,960 1,980 1,320 990 792 660 566 495 440 396 360 330 305 283 264 248 233 220 208 198 189 180 172 165 158 132 113 99 88 79 72 66 61 57 53 50 47 44 42 40 32 26 23 20 18 16
12ft 3,630 1,815 1,210 908 726 605 519 454 403 363 330 303 279 259 242 227 214 202 191 182 173 165 158 151 145 121 104 91 81 73 66 61 56 52 48 45 43 40 38 36 29 24 21 18 16 15
13ft 3,351 1,675 1,117 838 670 558 479 419 372 335 305 279 258 239 223 209 197 186 176 168 160 152 146 140 134 112 96 84 74 67 61 56 52 48 45 42 39 37 35 34 27 22 19 17 15 13
14ft 3,111 1,556 1,037 778 622 519 444 389 346 311 283 259 239 222 207 194 183 173 164 156 148 141 135 130 124 104 89 78 69 62 57 52 48 44 41 39 37 35 33 31 25 21 18 16 14 12
15ft 2,904 1,452 968 726 581 484 415 363 323 290 264 242 223 207 194 182 171 161 153 145 138 132 126 121 116 97 83 73 65 58 53 48 45 41 39 36 34 32 31 29 23 19 17 15 13 12
16ft 2,723 1,361 908 681 545 454 389 340 303 272 248 227 209 194 182 170 160 151 143 136 130 124 118 113 109 91 78 68 61 54 50 45 42 39 36 34 32 30 29 27 22 18 16 14 12 11
17ft 2,562 1,281 854 641 512 427 366 320 285 256 233 214 197 183 171 160 151 142 135 128 122 116 111 107 102 85 73 64 57 51 47 43 39 37 34 32 30 28 27 26 20 17 15 13 11 10
18ft 2,420 1,210 807 605 484 403 346 303 269 242 220 202 186 173 161 151 142 134 127 121 115 110 105 101 97 81 69 61 54 48 44 40 37 35 32 30 28 27 25 24 19 16 14 12 11 10
19ft 2,293 1,146 764 573 459 382 328 287 255 229 208 191 176 164 153 143 135 127 121 115 109 104 100 96 92 76 66 57 51 46 42 38 35 33 31 29 27 25 24 23 18 15 13 11 10 9
20ft 2,178 1,089 726 545 436 363 311 272 242 218 198 182 168 156 145 136 128 121 115 109 104 99 95 91 87 73 62 54 48 44 40 36 34 31 29 27 26 24 23 22 17 15 12 11 10 9
25ft 1,742 871 581 436 348 290 249 218 194 174 158 145 134 124 116 109 102 97 92 87 83 79 76 73 70 58 50 44 39 35 32 29 27 25 23 22 20 19 18 17 14 12 10 9 8 7
30ft 1,452 726 484 363 290 242 207 182 161 145 132 121 112 104 97 91 85 81 76 73 69 66 63 61 58 48 41 36 32 29 26 24 22 21 19 18 17 16 15 15 12 10 8 7 6 6
35ft 1,245 622 415 311 249 207 178 156 138 124 113 104 96 89 83 78 73 69 66 62 59 57 54 52 50 41 36 31 28 25 23 21 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 10 8 7 6 6 5
40ft 1,089 545 363 272 218 182 156 136 121 109 99 91 84 78 73 68 64 61 57 54 52 50 47 45 44 36 31 27 24 22 20 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 11 9 7 6 5 5 4
45ft 968 484 323 242 194 161 138 121 108 97 88 81 74 69 65 61 57 54 51 48 46 44 42 40 39 32 28 24 22 19 18 16 15 14 13 12 11 11 10 10 8 6 6 5 4 4
50ft 871 436 290 218 174 145 124 109 97 87 79 73 67 62 58 54 51 48 46 44 41 40 38 36 35 29 25 22 19 17 16 15 13 12 12 11 10 10 9 9 7 6 5 4 4 3
55ft 792 396 264 198 158 132 113 99 88 79 72 66 61 57 53 50 47 44 42 40 38 36 34 33 32 26 23 20 18 16 14 13 12 11 11 10 9 9 8 8 6 5 5 4 4 3
60ft 726 363 242 182 145 121 104 91 81 73 66 61 56 52 48 45 43 40 38 36 35 33 32 30 29 24 21 18 16 15 13 12 11 10 10 9 9 8 8 7 6 5 4 4 3 3
65ft 670 335 223 168 134 112 96 84 74 67 61 56 52 48 45 42 39 37 35 34 32 30 29 28 27 22 19 17 15 13 12 11 10 10 9 8 8 7 7 7 5 4 4 3 3 3
70ft 622 311 207 156 124 104 89 78 69 62 57 52 48 44 41 39 37 35 33 31 30 28 27 26 25 21 18 16 14 12 11 10 10 9 8 8 7 7 7 6 5 4 4 3 3 2
75ft 581 290 194 145 116 97 83 73 65 58 53 48 45 41 39 36 34 32 31 29 28 26 25 24 23 19 17 15 13 12 11 10 9 8 8 7 7 6 6 6 5 4 3 3 3 2
80ft 545 272 182 136 109 91 78 68 61 54 50 45 42 39 36 34 32 30 29 27 26 25 24 23 22 18 16 14 12 11 10 9 8 8 7 7 6 6 6 5 4 4 3 3 2 2
85ft 512 256 171 128 102 85 73 64 57 51 47 43 39 37 34 32 30 28 27 26 24 23 22 21 20 17 15 13 11 10 9 9 8 7 7 6 6 6 5 5 4 3 3 3 2 2
90ft 484 242 161 121 97 81 69 61 54 48 44 40 37 35 32 30 28 27 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 16 14 12 11 10 9 8 7 7 6 6 6 5 5 5 4 3 3 2 2 2
95ft 459 229 153 115 92 76 66 57 51 46 42 38 35 33 31 29 27 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 15 13 11 10 9 8 8 7 7 6 6 5 5 5 5 4 3 3 2 2 2
100ft 436 218 145 109 87 73 62 54 48 44 40 36 34 31 29 27 26 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 15 12 11 10 9 8 7 7 6 6 5 5 5 5 4 3 3 2 2 2 2
125ft 348 174 116 87 70 58 50 44 39 35 32 29 27 25 23 22 20 19 18 17 17 16 15 15 14 12 10 9 8 7 6 6 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 1
150ft 290 145 97 73 58 48 41 36 32 29 26 24 22 21 19 18 17 16 15 15 14 13 13 12 12 10 8 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1
175ft 249 124 83 62 50 41 36 31 28 25 23 21 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 12 11 11 10 10 8 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
200ft 218 109 73 54 44 36 31 27 24 22 20 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 11 10 10 9 9 9 7 6 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
225ft 194 97 65 48 39 32 28 24 22 19 18 16 15 14 13 12 11 11 10 10 9 9 8 8 8 6 6 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1
250ft 174 87 58 44 35 29 25 22 19 17 16 15 13 12 12 11 10 10 9 9 8 8 8 7 7 6 5 4 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1

Tree Growth Rate: Area Increase Table and Annual Percentage Growth Table

Trees grow in diameter every year. From the farthest reach of the woody roots to the tips of the twigs, trees expand in girth. This annual growth increment allows trees to respond to changing environmental conditions and react to injuries. The ability of the tree to resist strong winds, ice storms and major losses of woody materials, while remaining alive and erect, is a direct consequence of annual diameter growth.

The amount of woody increment produced each year depends upon the proper functioning and productivity of the leaves. All the leaves together make up the living crown of a tree. The food and growth substances ultimately generated by photosynthesis and metabolic processes in the leaves directly determine the amount of materials available for generating annual increments. The annual increment produced throughout the tree is a result of crown production;  crown production is a direct result of annual increment transport efficiency and volume. The growth increment also mechanically supports the crown against dynamic forces of gravity, wind, precipitation and the tree's own size, shape and mass.

Because the crown is provided with raw materials and growth substances collected and generated by the roots, and the roots are provided with food and growth substances generated by the crown, the physical distance and biological health between living crown and absorbing root are critical. Those cells between leaf and rootlet must store, defend, support, transport, prevent waste, and conserve precious resources needed for tree survival. Trees invest heavily in woody materials applied as an annual layer of cells over the outside of last year's structure.

The annual addition of growth represents an approximation of specific crown vigor, general tree health, relative whole tree growth rates, and crown volume. The more net food and growth substances generated by the crown, the larger the tree grows at a faster annual pace. Each year the total annual growth increment is a ecological integration of all genetic, environmental, and chance occurrence factors that influences whole tree survival and growth.

The measure of annual growth increments in trees can be estimated by circular crosssections and annual radial growth. Relative annual increment values (as a percent of the last annual increment) using this table can be determined by first estimating tree diameter at 4½ feet above the ground (DBH) as measured along the main stem on the uphill side. For this table, an estimate of generalized annual growth rate is determined based upon the number of annual increments present in the last (outside) inch of wood (xylem) generated. This measure estimates a growth rate by diameter (DBH) class.

Table 18 provides the annual xylem increment area increase based upon growth rate per diameter class in square inches.

Table 18: Area increase in cross-sectional inches per single growth increment by diameter (DBH = diameter in inches at 4.5 feet above the ground). The growth rate estimator ranges from 1.0 growth increment per inch (R1) to 20 growth increments per inch (R20). Diameter ranges from 6 inches DBH to 100 inches DBH.

D R1 R1.5 R2 R2.5 R3 R4 R5 R7.5 R10 R12.5 R15 R17.5 R20
6 16 11 8.6 7.0 5.9 4.5 3.6 2.5 1.9 1.5 1.2 1.1 0.9
7 19 13 10 8.3 7.0 5.3 4.3 2.9 2.2 1.7 1.4 1.2 1.1
8 22 15 12 9.6 8.0 6.1 4.9 3.3 2.5 2.0 1.6 1.4 1.2
9 25 17 13 11 9.1 6.9 5.5 3.7 2.8 2.2 1.9 1.6 1.4
10 28 20 15 12 10 7.7 6.2 4.1 3.1 2.5 2.1 1.8 1.6
11 31 22 17 13 11 8.4 6.8 4.5 3.4 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7
12 35 24 18 15 12 9.2 7.4 5.0 3.7 3.0 2.5 2.1 1.7
13 38 26 20 16 13 10 8.0 5.4 4.1 3.2 2.7 2.3 2.0
14 41 28 21 17 14 11 8.7 5.8 4.4 3.5 2.9 2.5 2.2
15 44 30 23 18 15 12 9.3 6.2 4.7 3.7 3.1 2.7 2.3
16 47 32 24 20 16 12 9.9 6.6 5.0 4.0 3.3 2.9 2.5
17 50 34 26 21 17 13 11 7.0 5.3 4.3 3.5 3.0 2.7
18 53 36 28 22 19 13 11 7.5 5.6 4.5 3.7 3.2 2.8
20 60 41 31 25 21 16 12 8.3 6.3 5.0 4.1 3.6 3.1
21 63 43 32 26 22 16 13 8.7 6.6 5.3 4.3 3.8 3.3
22 66 45 34 27 23 17 14 9.1 6.9 5.5 4.5 3.9 3.4
23 69 47 35 28 24 18 14 9.6 7.2 5.8 4.8 4.1 3.6
24 72 49 37 30 25 19 15 10 7.5 6.0 5.0 4.3 3.8
25 75 51 39 31 26 19 16 10 7.8 6.3 5.2 4.5 3.9
26 79 53 40 32 27 20 16 11 8.1 6.5 5.4 4.7 4.1
27 82 55 42 33 28 21 17 11 8.5 6.8 5.6 4.8 4.2
28 85 57 43 35 29 22 18 12 8.8 7.0 5.8 5.0 4.4
29 88 59 45 36 30 23 18 12 9.1 7.3 6.0 5.2 4.5
30 91 61 46 37 31 23 19 13 9.4 7.5 6.2 5.4 4.7
31 94 64 48 39 32 24 19 13 9.7 7.8 6.4 5.6 4.9
32 97 66 50 40 33 25 20 13 10 8.0 6.6 5.7 5.0
33 101 68 51 41 34 26 21 14 10 8.3 3.8 5.9 5.2
34 104 70 53 42 35 27 21 14 11 8.5 7.0 6.1 5.3
35 107 72 54 44 36 27 22 15 11 8.8 7.2 6.3 5.5
36 110 74 56 45 37 28 23 15 11 9.0 7.5 6.4 5.6
37 113 76 57 46 38 29 23 15 12 9.3 7.7 6.6 5.8
38 116 78 59 47 39 30 24 16 12 9.5 7.9 6.8 6.0
39 119 80 61 49 41 30 24 16 12 9.8 8.1 7.0 6.1
40 123 82 62 50 42 31 25 19 13 10 8.3 7.2 6.3
45 138 93 70 56 47 35 28 19 14 11 9.3 8.1 7.1
50 154 103 78 62 52 39 31 21 16 13 10 9.0 7.8
55 170 114 86 69 57 43 34 23 17 14 11 9.9 8.6
60 185 124 94 75 62 47 38 25 19 15 12 11 9.4
65 201 135 101 81 68 51 41 27 20 16 14 12 10
70 217 145 109 88 73 55 44 29 22 18 15 13 11
75 233 156 117 94 78 59 47 31 24 19 16 13 12
80 248 166 125 100 83 63 50 33 25 20 17 14 13
85 264 177 133 106 89 67 53 36 27 21 18 15 13
90 280 187 141 113 94 71 56 38 28 23 29 16 14
95 295 197 148 119 99 74 60 40 30 24 20 17 15
100 311 208 156 125 104 78 63 42 31 25 21 18 16
Table 19 provides a perceint (in decimal form) increase per year in xylem increment area based on growth rate per diameter class.

Table 19: Percent increase in cross-sectional area per single growth increment by diameter (DBH = diameter in inches at 4.5 feet above the ground). The growth rate estimator ranges from 1.0 growth increment per inch (R1) to 20 growth increments per inch (R20). Diameter ranges from 6 inches DBH to 100 inches DBH.

D R1.0 R1.5 R2.0 R2.5 R3.0 R4.0 R5.0 R7.5 R10.0 R12.5 R15.0 R17.5 R20.0
6 0.65 0.44 0.33 0.27 0.19 0.15 0.10 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03
7 0.96 0.53 0.36 0.28 0.22 0.16 0.13 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03
8 0.78 0.44 0.31 0.24 0.19 0.14 0.11 0.07 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.03
9 0.66 0.38 0.27 0.21 0.17 0.12 0.10 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02
10 0.57 0.33 0.25 0.18 0.15 0.11 0.09 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02
11 0.49 0.30 0.21 0.16 0.13 0.10 0.08 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02
12 0.44 0.27 0.19 0.15 0.12 0.09 0.07 0.05 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02
13 0.40 0.24 0.17 0.14 0.11 0.08 0.07 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02
14 0.36 0.22 0.16 0.13 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01
15 0.33 0.20 0.15 0.12 0.10 0.07 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01
16 0.31 0.19 0.14 0.11 0.09 0.07 0.05 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01
17 0.28 0.18 0.13 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01
18 0.27 0.17 0.12 0.11 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01
19 0.25 0.16 0.11 0.09 0.07 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01
20 0.25 0.15 0.11 0.09 0.07 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01
21 0.22 0.14 0.10 0.08 0.07 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01
22 0.21 0.13 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009
23 0.20 0.13 0.09 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.009
24 0.19 0.12 0.08 0.07 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.008
25 0.18 0.12 0.09 0.07 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.008
26 0.17 0.11 0.08 0.07 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009 0.008
27 0.17 0.11 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009 0.008
28 0.16 0.10 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.007
29 0.15 0.10 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009 0.008 0.007
30 0.15 0.10 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009 0.008 0.007
31 0.14 0.09 0.07 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009 0.008 0.007
32 0.14 0.09 0.07 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.008 0.006
33 0.13 0.09 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.007 0.006
34 0.13 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.007 0.006
35 0.13 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.009 0.008 0.007 0.006
36 0.12 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.009 0.007 0.006 0.006
37 0.12 0.08 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.009 0.007 0.006 0.005
38 0.11 0.07 0.06 0.04 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009 0.007 0.006 0.005
39 0.11 0.07 0.05 0.04 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.007 0.006 0.005
40 0.11 0.07 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.007 0.006 0.005
45 0.10 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.009 0.007 0.006 0.005 0.005
50 0.09 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.008 0.006 0.005 0.005 0.004
55 0.08 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.007 0.006 0.005 0.004 0.004
60 0.07 0.05 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.009 0.007 0.005 0.004 0.004 0.003
65 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.008 0.006 0.005 0.004 0.004 0.003
70 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.006 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.003
75 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.007 0.005 0.004 0.004 0.003 0.003
80 0.05 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.007 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.003 0.003
85 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.006 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.003 0.002
90 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.006 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.003 0.002
95 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.009 0.006 0.004 0.003 0.003 0.002 0.002
100 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.008 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.003 0.002 0.002

Trees per Acre Table--By Diameter and Basal Area

There are many types of natural resource planning and management applications that require estimating the number of trees for a given size that would occupy an acre of land. The table presented here attempts to provide the number of trees per acre assuming that all have the same diameter or that average diameter has low variability around a specified value.

This table provides the number of trees of a given size per acre across 14 relative densities. Density is based upon site occupancy and crown size approximations. The density factor used is in units of 10 square feet of basal area ranging from 10 to 140 square feet basal area per acre. Basal area is the combined crosssectional area of all trees on an acre at 4.5 feet above the ground.

This table is intended as an educational and general management device which can assist landowners and natural resource managers with estimating tree numbers per acre. This table is an expansion of commonly available forestry tables.

Table 20: Number of trees per acre by diameter (DBH) class in inches and basal area (BA) per acre class in square feet. (DBH is measured at 4.5 feet above ground on uphill side of tree and BA is the total cross sectional areas of all trees on an acre measured at 4.5 feet above the ground on the uphill side of a tree. Values are rounded to the nearest whole tree.)

D BA10 BA20 BA30 BA40 BA50 BA60 BA70 BA80 BA90 BA100 BA110 BA120 BA130 BA140
1 1,834 3,669 5,503 7,338 9,172 11,006 12,841 14,675 16,510 18,344 20,178 22,013 23,847 25,682
2 459 917 1,376 1,834 2,293 2,752 3,210 3,669 4,128 4,586 5,045 5,503 5,962 6,420
3 204 408 612 815 1,019 1,223 1,427 1,631 1,834 2,038 2,242 2,446 2,650 2,854
4 115 229 344 458 573 688 803 917 1,032 1,147 1,261 1,376 1,491 1,605
5 73 147 220 294 367 440 514 587 660 734 807 881 954 1,027
6 51 102 153 204 255 306 357 408 459 510 561 612 662 713
7 37 75 112 150 187 225 262 300 337 374 412 449 487 524
8 29 57 86 115 143 172 201 229 258 287 315 344 373 401
9 23 45 68 91 113 136 159 181 204 227 249 272 294 317
10 18 37 55 73 92 110 128 147 165 183 202 220 239 257
11 15 30 46 61 76 91 106 121 136 152 167 182 197 212
12 13 26 38 51 64 76 89 102 115 127 140 153 166 178
13 11 22 33 43 54 65 76 87 98 109 119 130 141 152
14 9 19 28 37 47 56 66 75 84 94 103 112 122 131
15 8 16 25 33 41 49 57 65 73 82 90 98 106 114
16 7 14 22 29 36 43 50 57 65 72 79 86 93 100
17 6 13 19 25 32 38 44 51 57 64 70 76 83 89
18 6 11 17 23 28 34 40 45 51 57 62 68 74 79
19 5 10 15 20 25 31 36 41 46 51 56 61 66 71
20 5 9 14 18 23 28 32 37 41 46 51 55 50 64
21 4 8 13 17 21 25 29 33 37 42 46 50 54 58
22 4 8 11 15 19 23 27 30 34 38 42 46 49 53
23 4 7 10 14 17 21 24 28 31 35 38 42 45 49
24 3 6 10 13 16 19 22 26 29 32 35 38 41 45
25 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 26 29 32 35 38 41
26 3 5 8 11 14 16 19 22 24 27 30 33 35 38
27 3 5 8 10 13 15 18 20 23 25 28 30 33 35
28 2 5 7 9 12 14 16 19 21 23 26 28 30 33
29 2 4 7 9 11 13 15 18 20 22 24 26 28 31
30 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 25 27 29
31 2 4 6 8 10 12 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27
32 2 4 5 7 9 11 13 14 16 18 20 22 23 25
33 2 3 5 7 8 10 12 14 15 17 19 20 22 24
34 2 3 5 6 8 10 11 13 14 16 18 19 21 22
35 2 3 5 6 8 9 11 12 14 15 17 18 20 21
36 1 3 4 6 7 9 10 11 13 14 16 17 18 20
37 1 3 4 5 7 8 9 11 12 13 15 16 17 19
38 1 3 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 17 18
39 1 2 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 13 15 16 17
40 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14 15 16
41 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
42 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15
43 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
44 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 13
45 1 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
46 1 2 3 4 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 12
47 1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 11 12
48 1 2 2 3 4 5 6 6 7 8 9 10 10 11
49 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 8 8 9 10 11
50 1 2 2 3 4 4 5 6 7 7 8 9 10 10
55 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 5 6 6 7 7 8 9
60 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7
65 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 6 6
75 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5
80 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4
85 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4
90 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3
95 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3
100 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3