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We'll be talking about clear cuts and other methods of cutting stands of trees as reproduction methods because how we choose to remove the trees directly affects how we will regenerate the forest. The way we log an area of forest, often called a harvest unit, is the first step in our reforestation plan. There is no denying that the initial result of clearcutting or partial-cutting is the logging of mature trees. What many people overlook is that, after the harvest, laws, regulations, and common sense all require us to regenerate the logged forest land, ensuring a continuous forest resource.

Clearcutting is one way to ensure good regeneration of planted seedlings on sites where we are regenerating sun-loving tree species, like the Douglas-fir. This picture shows a triangular clearcut in a fairly dense, uniform stand of trees.

Partial-cutting, which includes thinning and selective harvesting, is a common practice in dense stands and in areas where trees are left to provide shelter for young seedlings. This unit was harvested in the same forest stand as the clearcut seen above, slightly farther downhill. The result is a partial cut, with only 50 trees per acre remaining.

Oregonians have very diverse opinions about the ways we may choose to log the mature trees in a stand. We'll be able to talk a bit about our opinions on clearcutting and other related subjects in the Break Room. For now, however, I invite you to find out a little bit more about what goes on in a harvest unit after the logging, and before a mature stand of trees has been reestablished. As you learn about different methods of reproducing forest stands, keep in mind that removing trees can help build and maintain a forest when done well, and harm the forest if done poorly. It is the job of the forester and all forest workers to do their job well, so that the resources we depend on are sustained.

Cutting as a way to harvest wood shouldn't obscure the role of cutting as the way that we reproduce and tend the working forest. When we clearcut or partial-cut a forest, we are thinking beyond the logs that we send to the mill. We are thinking of the trees we will plant, and we are tending to and affecting all of the other plants and animals, not just the trees. Does it sound like a tough job? It is! If all of us in the forest do our jobs well, our jobs get easier and our forests healthier.