• William Luppold USDA Forest Service
  • Matthew S. Bumgardner USDA Forest Service


Timber harvest, hardwood, harvest patterns


Timber harvesting is a major disturbance agent influencing the composition and structure of eastern hardwood forests. To better understand timber harvesting practices, we examined roundwood harvesting patterns in 13 eastern states in the Central, Mid-Atlantic, and Northern regions that contained high proportional volumes of hardwood in their forest inventories. Nearly 5400 Forest Inventory and Analysis sample plots in which timber was cut and assumed to be used were examined for the period 2009-2015. Nine patterns based on basal area removed were isolated and defined, of which six were partial removals and three were clear-cuts. Of the patterns observed, four involved primarily hardwoods, three involved primarily softwood, and two were mixed. Large diameter–influenced partial hardwood harvesting practices were found to be predominant in the Central hardwood region, but mixed diameter hardwood and softwood partial harvesting patterns were noted in Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine. Harvesting patterns examined in Pennsylvania and New York appeared to be a transition between the patterns found in the Central and three most Northern states. Large diameter–influenced harvesting also occurred less frequently in the Mid- Atlantic states. Clear-cuts were noted in all states examined but were associated with higher levels of removal in the Mid-Atlantic states. Softwood cuts were more common in the Northern and Mid-Atlantic states and pine thinning cuts were noted in Tennessee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, and North Carolina. Although this study provides insight into current timber harvesting processes, additional information is needed to determine how timber management practices can be developed to complement the economic considerations associated with harvests.


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Research Contributions