We are approaching fall, when the buzz of chainsaws will be heard in earnest. The cool weather and impending cold encourages woodlot owners to get into the woods and harvest firewood, hopefully for next season's heat. Which trees to cut for wood and which trees to leave to grow for future value is the dilemma that is best decided with surveyor's tape or paint in hand and not the chainsaw—hard to change your mind when you make the decision with the saw.
Even before venturing into the woods to make life and death decisions (for the trees), its wise to brush off your copy of Good Forestry in the Granite State . The chapter on managing for high-value trees reminds us to leave trees with the largest crowns (tops) for additional growth and cut the smaller-topped trees for firewood. The trees with the larger crowns, called crop trees, will grow faster in diameter maximizing future wood-production.
Chapters on mast, cavity trees, dens and snags and dead and down woody material give guidance on important wildlife habitat features to consider as you grow your high-value trees. The fun and challenge of managing woodland is incorporating many objectives as you cut you cut your firewood, or harvest timber. Growing timber and wildlife isn't an either-or proposition and Good Forestry gives good guidance on doing both.
A field tour of the Kimball Widlife Forest in Gilford on October 5 will be a chance to see how one landowner integrates many interests as they manage their land. Stops focus on crop trees, wildlife habitat, prescribe burns, an old rock quarry. Pre-registration is requested and for more information—Outstanding Tree Farm of the Year: Kimball Wildlife Forest Celebration and Tour