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:: Home > Forests and Timber > Reproduction Methods > The Partial Cut

If we think of clearcutting as a "full cut," then we can think of any type of harvest that doesn't cut all of the trees as a partial cut. People decide to partially cut forests for many different reasons. For instance, a partial cut allows us to harvest off of the same site more than once before the most mature trees are harvested. We leave trees to be used by other animals. We also leave "seed trees" to reproduce seedlings in open spaces. Sometimes we cut trees in small groups, while at other times we may decide to cut individual trees from within the stand. Sometimes our management goal is to maintain an uneven-aged forest stand for many, many years.

A selective cut, as seen from the air.

Our decision to partial cut is based on the characteristics of the forest stand, as well as the needs of the landowners. A partial cut that leaves too many trees may make it difficult for shade intolerant seedlings to grow. A partial cut that leaves too few trees may not provide enough hiding cover so animals may leave. You can see that we make lots of decisions on how best to harvest and reproduce the forest.

Partial cutting is a reproduction method because a very important result of our partial cut is the successful reproduction of young trees below the canopies of the trees that remain. Thinning is a partial cut, but because we don't use thinning to encourage seedlings in the understory, it is not a repoduction method.