Methods > Clearcutting
> Hot Topic: Clearcuts
& Wildlife > Alternatives to Clearcutting
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.
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
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.