Forests and Timber >
A thinning is just that if a
stand of trees has "too many" trees, then
one thing we can do is cut some trees out, or "thin"
the stand, so the remaining trees can grow better...
faster... and stronger! One or more thinnings are
often conducted before the stand reaches maturity.
Thinning is often necessary because
the working forest begins as a large number of small
trees. A planted stand in western Oregon can have
several hundred trees per acre, while a seeded stand
may have thousands of small trees per acre! As trees
in a stand grow larger, they need more space. If we
don't provide trees with space, then natural thinning
will occur where some trees will beat other trees
for limited resources like sun and water, and the
losing trees will die.
||Natural thinning occurs
in ways other than tree competition as well. Distubances
like fire, windstorms, or an outbreak of an insect or
tree disease can naturally thin stands. The end result
is that some trees are killed while others survive,
and the thinning process again benefits those trees
that remain. If a disturbance like wildfire is removed,
then the overall health of the forest declines as trees
compete for resources, get weak, and die.
The difference between a thinning
and a partial cut reproduction method is that trees
are cut in a thinned stand to benefit the remaining
trees, whereas trees are cut in a partial cut to vacate
enough space for seedlings to be able to grow and
regenerate the forest.