Carl D Weinberger
weinb901 at raven.csrv.uidaho.edu
Sun Jan 21 17:34:55 EST 1996
In a previous post Clay Fink said/asked -
SA> In Eastern Kentucky a mill has just gone into operation (run by
SA> Trus Joist McMillen) that produces a composite timber product
SA> from tulip poplar. They take any trees between 8 and 20 DBH.
SA> From what little I know, up till now tulip trees that size were
SA> not considered to be economically mature, I'd think that high
SA> quality veneer or saw timber would require a larger DBH (is this
SA> true?). It seems that their new processing technology has
SA> created a market for timber that was not previously of economic
SA> value. Is this a trend in the timber industry? I've heard that
SA> similar things are being done elsewhere with trees that were
SA> considered to be junk or useful only for pulp. Is this a good
SA> thing? What might be the long term effects of this kind of
SA> timber harvesting on the landscape? How will this change
SA> silvicultural practices for tulip poplar stands? I'm just a
SA> layman (that's the second time today that I've made that
SA> qualification) but I would like to know if any of these questions
SA> are generally considered to be issues in the field of forestry
SA> today. Thanks.
I'm afraid that I haven't stayed current on the silvics of
Tulip Poplar, but there is a continuing trend throughout the
forest industry to utilize material previously considered
"sub-merchantable". For the most part this provides the
economic incentive and opportunity to conduct "good" forest
practices - for example:
1. Overstocked stands can now be economically thinned, and
the poor quality trees, that would not have made it to maturity
but would have drug down the vigor of the whole stand until
they died, can be removed at a profit or at least at a very
low net cost.
2. Stands that have been devastated by insects and/or disease
can now often be salvaged economically, and what otherwise
would have been dangerous fuel loads waiting for a
catastrophic fire can be removed and put to good use.
3. Rotations on the higher quality trees in the stand can be
economically extended due to the ability to start generating a
revenue stream early in the rotation period.
There are usually numerous other benefits which tend to be
species and site specific.
However, like any change in practices, the possible outcomes
can be quite complex. If the ability to utilize smaller as
well as lower quality trees is used as an excuse to consistently
harvest all trees in a stand before maturity, it *may* be
detrimental to those forest associated species that need the
characteristics more mature stands. I say *may* because
something that may seem detrimental when examined at one
spatial or temporal scale, is often neutral or even beneficial
when examined at a different scale.
Bob Weinberger - La Grande, OR
rweinber at orednet.org
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