Fact Sheets

Why Do Forest Managers Use Clearcut Harvesting? (FS-23-01)

February 09, 2023 Attachment: FS-23-01_Clearcut_Harvesting_Feb2023

Forest managers have a variety of tree harvesting options. The final harvesting system selected may reflect management objectives, social and ecological considerations, and current and desired stand composition and characteristics. Clearcut harvesting is often used because it generally increases regeneration success and subsequent tree growth, and is a low-cost management option. In many locations, clearcut harvest is the only feasible system for even-aged pine and other important timber species (Douglas fir, larch, aspen, yellow poplar, birch) due to their growth requirements. Concerns have been raised that using clearcut harvesting is destructive to the environment, causes habitat or biodiversity loss, and is visually unappealing.

This fact sheet provides a brief overview of clearcut harvesting, notes important environmental consequences of clearcut harvest, and explains the difference between clearcut harvest and deforestation.

Keywords: forest harvest, clearcut, sustainability

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