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:: Home > The Forest > Reproduction Methods > Clearcutting > Hot Topic: Clearcuts & Wildlife > Alternatives to Clearcutting
Alternatives to Clearcutting

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Any harvest technique that doesn't cut all the trees is a partial cut. There are two main forms of partial cutting, thinning and selective harvesting. With thinning, slower growing or defective trees are removed to give more growing space to the remaining trees. This is a common practice in young Douglas-fir stands. Eventually, the thinned stand will be clearcut.

A Thinned Stand

With selective harvesting, trees are removed either individually or in small groups. The forest regenerates with small groups of trees after each large tree or group of large trees is harvested. Using this method, each forest stand will have differently sized and aged trees at all times, and won't be clearcut.

Selective harvesting has been used in various forests around the world but it's not clear if it can be
successfully applied to the Douglas-fir region. Other forms of partial cutting can be used too, such as the shelterwood system in which mature trees are left after harvest to provide shelter for young seedlings in the new forest.

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