Pine & Hardwood Plantation Thinning

Pine & Hardwood Plantation Thinning

Our pine and hardwood plantation thinning services utilize our vast experience in land and timber management services in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. 

With all of our timber management services, we work with you to formulate a plan that gets you top dollar from the timber we harvest and is in line with sustainability practices.

Good Hope, Inc. employs logging contractors with many years of experience to help you achieve the goals of your forest. Whether you’re maintaining a pine stand in a high elevation or a hardwood plantation in the Mississippi River Delta Basin, we’re confident we have the capabilities to meet your needs. 

Why You Should Thin Timber Stands

  • Promotes a healthy forest – Manually thinning timber stands, such as pine and hardwood, is vital to a healthy forest. Failure to thin a forest can lead to stunted growth and many trees dying from parasitic beetles, malnutrition, or fire.
  • Helps young trees grow – A dense forest also creates growth obstacles for younger trees. A thick canopy prevents adequate amounts of light from reaching adolescents. Plus, close timber proximity creates undesirable competition for water and ground nutrients, resulting in growth limitations or even the death of trees.
  • Decreases overall risk – A high concentration of trees also increases the number that would be affected by harmful beetles and fires should they occur. These common scenarios render the timber effectively worthless.
  • Promotes wildlife diversity – Forests with specific amounts of tree coverage provide food and shelter for certain animals. For example, wild turkeys, rabbits, and deer benefit from a thinner timber stand. It helps grow food sources they rely on, while still offering protection from prey. 

What Does Timber Thinning Involve? 

In short? A lot. But getting down to the basics of timber thinning, it starts with a site visit. 

Our team will make an initial trip to your property to create a plan for thinning your standing timber. We’ll figure out which trees need to be trimmed or cut down and decide what to do with any timber we cut down. 

After a timeline is agreed upon, we will come back with our equipment and get to work! Depending on the initial plan, we’ll either be thinning specific parts of trees or removing some entirely. The nitty gritty details of tree thinning are dependent on the type of tree, your vision for the standing timber, and the overall health and age of the trees. 

For example, if you want to promote tree growth, we might remove specific trees to promote the growth of the best ones. On the other hand, if your stand isn’t too crowded, we’ll work on thinning necessary areas to keep all existing trees healthy and valuable. 

After the timber stand is thinned, we will haul the timber to the respective destination agreed upon by you and have it processed to your specifications. 

When to Thin Standing Timber

Now that we have established why timber thinning is necessary for the health of forests, it’s important to know when thinning should be done. There are many different calculations involved when it comes to determining when to thin standing timber, so the final decision is best left to a forestry expert. 

However, we will walk you through a few common calculations so you can get a general idea of how it’s done. 

There are a couple of ways to easily determine if your timber stand needs to be thinned: the live crown ratio and by calculating basal area.

Live Crown Ratio: Live crown ratio, or LCR, is a calculation of the live foliage supported by a tree, represented as a percentage. LCR is calculated by dividing the total tree height (in feet) by the distance from the lowest branches supporting living foliage to the top (in feet). When the LCR gets around 30%, thinning should be conducted. The US Department of Agriculture breaks down live crown ratios here.

The best point to thin timber stands based on LCR differs. For example, the recommended LCR for oaks in hardwood plantations is 40%, while pine trees thrive with an LCR of about 33%. 

Basal Area: Basal area represents the amount of land taken up by tree stems. Calculating basal area gives you the square footage of standing timber per acre. Learn more about the calculation method and recommended square feet of timber per acre. 

The Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks association recommends a basal area range of 60-70 square feet per acre. This ensures adequate sunlight reaches all foliage and provides a great environment for wildlife. 

The calculations above are two of the most important when it comes to plantation thinning, but that list isn’t all inclusive. A few other calculations our forestry management team conducts include: 

  • Stand density 
  • Merchantable Height 
  • Potential log grade 
  • Stocking percent 
  • Trees per acre

Pine & Hardwood Plantation Thinning Services

We provide plantation thinning services throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi! Find your local forester today or give us a call at 601-442-9888 to keep your timber healthy and valuable.

Find your forester