Timber harvests that are poorly planned and conducted are likely to yield unsatisfactory results. It is important to recognize that a timber harvest can be a useful woodland management tool to help you meet your management objectives. Below are five examples of how properly planned and conducted timber harvests can help woodland owners achieve their objectives for their woodland.

1. Create the future woodland. A timber harvest can set the stage for which trees are likely to dominate in the future woodland. Incorporating the knowledge of which trees are likely to respond to different types of harvests allows professional foresters to mark harvests that meet both long-term objectives and are economically feasible.

2. Build woodland roads, trails, and firebreaks. The equipment used in most timber harvesting operations can also be used to develop woodland roads, trails, and firebreaks. The ability to access your woodland property is critical to managing and enjoying it.

3. Improve wildlife habitat. Many woodland owners enjoy having wildlife on their property but may not realize that timber harvests can be beneficial to some wildlife species such as ruffed grouse and other species requiring young woodlands. A timber harvest can be a great way to create habitat and browse for wildlife especially in areas that are dominated by woodlands.

4. Removing sick or damaged trees. Properly planned and conducted timber salvage operations following a disaster such as the emerald ash borer’s attack on ash trees can allow woodland owners to clean up their woodlands of dying trees and recoup a portion of the loss.

5. Paying for other woodland conservation practices. Investing a small portion of the proceeds from a timber harvest to pay for the implementation of other woodland management practices such as invasive species control allows woodland owners to forego having to pay out of pocket for those expenses.