Pine Shelterwood Cut

What is a Pine Shelterwood Cut?

A pine shelter wood cut is a type of harvest that leaves trees standing after harvesting.  The effect is an open understory that allows the use of the space while allowing little sunlight to reach the forest floor. The stand will still retain an over story.

What’s the difference in pine shelterwood cut and a thinning?

When a stand is thinned, the small and poor formed trees are removed. This is the same as a pine shelter wood cut.  The only difference is that a lot more trees are taken out in a pine shelterwood cut. In a thinning the stand is thinned to about 80-90 square feet of basal area per acre. Basal area is the cross sectional area of all the trees in one acre at 4.5 feet above the ground measured in square feet per acre.  In a pine shelterwood cut the basal area is dropped to about 40 to 60 square feet per acre. This really opens the stand up.

General Information

A pine shelter wood cut looks similar to a hardwood shelter wood cut but in a hardwood shelter wood cut the main objective is to block the sun from getting to the ground and allow regeneration to occur. Many shade tolerant, slower growing species need this type of management to regenerate. In the pine stands it can limit the growth of the shade intolerant faster growing species.

           This type of management does open the canopy up some but the crop trees that are being actively managed are the trees in the over story.  This type of management works well with long leaf pines and loblolly pines.  Another name for this management could be pine savannah because grass usually grows under the crop trees.

           Many landowners like this type of management because it gives an open look to their property while still allowing for there to be an  over story of good straight trees.  Another benefit for this type of management is to wildlife.  This management will benefit deer, and turkey but most of all it will benefit quail. With a burning regime to keep the hardwoods down and promote grasses this can be very effective in quail management.  This type of management is being used more and more on our military bases because of its fire safety and wildlife management benefits, especially with the red cockaded woodpecker populations.