Plantation Management Services

Types of Thinning

     Quite a number of years ago, Ontario landowners and farmers were encouraged to take marginal farmland out of production and plant row upon row coniferous trees . This was done to address serious problems related to the lack of forest cover, such as wind and water erosion of top soil, diminished surface and ground water retention and storage, diminished wildlife habitat and a limited number of forests to supply wood products.

     Under the provincial Forestry Act, "forestry purposes" include the production of wood and wood products, provision of proper environmental conditions for wildlife, protection against floods and errosion, recreation, and protection and production of water supplies. Coniferous plantations if managed and thinned properly will accomplish these goals and produce an income.
     Once the thinnings start, they will foster the regeneration of a mixed deciduous stand. Just as oats, barley or other small grain crops act as a nurse crop for a new hay field or pasture planting, coniferous plantations are the long-term nurse crop for deciduous regeneration.
    In the original planting, the closeness of rows helped to protect the small saplings from the elements and forced them to compete against each other, thus ensuring rapid height growth instead of a short stocky tree with lots of limbs.
     If a plantation is not thinned, these tall slender trees eventually become weak and susceptible to ice, snow and wind breakage. As thinning takes place, the trees grow in diameter and become stronger. As they grow taller, the trunks gain girth. This increase in length and girth is a tremendous future benefit to the plantation as a commercial stand, and as a sustainable forest or woodlot. Thinning makes the remaining trees healthier and stronger.
    Managed plantations planted 30-60 years ago are paying off, not only in a good dollar return, but also in a healthy plantation. Those without management are not yielding wood or dollars, and many are showing signs of deterioration; some, even death.

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