Why do Loggers Leave One Tree Standing?

Why do loggers leave one tree standing? That is a good question; one that seems to have a variety of answers. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why loggers leave one tree standing.

Trees left on the ground or those left standing are referred to as deadwood. The problem of removing forest deadwood seems to be a multifaceted one. After completing forest operations, there are good reasons to let the deadwood remain. There are two important aspects – first, is for all the different kinds of life you’ll find in one area and nature preservation reasons. Even though deadwood may not look so pretty, it does provide shelter, habitat and food to an assortment of animals, fungi and plants which then allows other animals to prey upon it.

The other important aspect is site fertility and nutrient preservation. On sites where the trees have been taken away and are going to be replanted, the nutrients that remain in the deadwood usually means that no fertilizer contribution is necessary to create the crop.

Consequently, deadwood has a significant role here. There are sites where deadwood is harvested then used for energy. This is referred to as brash bundling – where deposits are collected then taken away from the sites. This cannot take place until the site is chosen according to specified criteria like soil stability, fertility, forest ecology etc. to be sure that the subtraction won’t harmfully affect forest rotations in the future.

There was a recent study from the University of Minnesota-Duluth that may help land manager and loggers protect important wildlife habitat while conducting wood harvest. Variations in logging practices were research to find out what was the most beneficial for small mammals and birds.

The loggers in Minnesota leave standing trees to provide for animals to nest, eat, hide and more. It is part of a movement in forest management that plans to leave forests that have been logged similar to the aftermath of a natural disaster, like a windstorm or fire.

Loggers may also leave woody debris such as tree tops and branches that cannot be sold to general public. This can provide even more habitat for birds, insects and small animals; however, it is also in growing request as renewable fuel for energy production.

The recent study’s focus was on small wildlife and birds such as squirrels, mice and voles. They are vital to having a healthy functioning forest ecosystem and can be affected by harvesting. 

It is obvious that leaving a few live trees in a logged area is far better than a pure clear-cut.

Bird community response proved a consistent and clear positive response to retaining trees. Retaining trees showed a higher overall abundance, higher species richness and increased diversity in comparison to stands with no remaining trees.

There was not however a substantial difference regarding the different retention approaches, individual or clumps. There were birds that came in the one type, and birds that showed up in the other, and birds that went to both. They did express that the clumps have more benefits like being more resilient to windstorms and more effectual logging operations.

Then there is a tree seed approach. This idea would be to spread seeds for new trees to grow. It would provide a backup for new trees to grow even though they planted seedlings, they might die. This can inexpensively change the forest type. A lot of forests will do through cycles in which some trees will be dominant. Leaving a couple behind enables you to provide that type an advantage where the logging might have otherwise changed the forest.

It all is contingent on how the land was logged, what type of trees are on the land and what the land is going to be used for.

For example, there probably would be no trees left standing if it is a tree farm, because the trees are planted again for further harvests.

If it is for development, then it may happen that the owners of the land may want some trees left standing in certain places. Large trees take a long time to grow. Therefore, if you are building a development or house, it is better to keep some older trees standing rather than cut them all down and begin to regrow.

On the other hand, if the land was just for logging periodically, there would be many reasons to leave some trees. Say for example you have land in a forestry management program, and are only cutting down one particular type of tree, so the trees that are rarer or irregular are left behind after logging. Sometimes it ends up looking like you left one or two tree once the logging was complete because the area was mainly a single kind of tree.

Are loggers required to replant trees?

Loggers are required to plan trees in order to substitute the logs that they harvested according to the Forest Practice Act on January 1, 1946. It was empowered by the State Division of Forestry to implement the requirements and a board to accept the rules to guard public capital improvements, fish, soils, wildlife and water from the influences of logging. Some lumber interest conflicted the ruling and appealed it was unconstitutional to the United Supreme Court. The court did uphold the statute.

All loggers looking for a permit to cut timber must agree to offer suitable reforestation under the new law. This also was required to a private landowner seeking to cut down his own trees. Some private landowners went to court, but the US Supreme Court stated the law was a binding exercise of state police power.

In 1974 the Forest Practice Act was replaced by a new Act which provided a device for more compound rulemaking to oversee forestry.

When a forest has been cut down, the exact area has to be replanted. And needs to be done within a couple of years of the clearing. The purpose is to provide a superlative planting environment to reassure the ideal growth and to also diminish delays or losses because of insect damage, vegetation competition or livestock. The replanting needs to take place between November and March and is reliant on the site and tree types. The preparation of the ground will rely on some factors such as drainage status, slope and soil type.

The trees used to replant should come from a registered forest nursery only and needs to be ordered, if possible, far in advance of planting them. The plants are required to have a straight stem and a strong rubbery root system. While more exclusive and of restricted accessibility, hereditarily improved planting stock have been proven to increase wood properties, stem form and growth.

To be certain that the forest can grow evenly and that needless maintenance is avoided, all trees that are affected by disease or are unsuccessful need to be replaced immediately.