Unfortunately, the vast majority of our current forests are young and in even aged stands. This limits habitat opportunities for many species that depend on old trees and deadwood. Naturally a forest becomes an ‘uneven-aged forest’ as older trees periodically die, making room for younger trees. Compared to stands of trees all planted at the same time, an ‘uneven aged forest’ will support much more biodiversity. In addition to helping biodiversity, uneven aged forests are also more resistant to wind-fall and insect infestations and can provide a yearly sustainable harvest. Mature forests take time to develop but provide a legacy of wise-use. Not only are healthy woodlots better for wildlife, they are also great places to enjoy alone or with your family.
By selecting single trees, or small patches for harvesting (instead of large blocks) it is possible to copy the natural disturbance that creates uneven-aged forests, wind fall. Selecting mature trees for harvest while leaving some trees to die naturally can strike a balance between making the forest work for your farm while also making room for interesting wildlife.
Helpful Links and Resources
- The Association for Sustainable Forestry has prepared a number of informational videos introducing principles of uneven age woodlot management
- Nova Scotia Natural Resources Management of Natural Acadian Forest, a guide to resources
- Nova Scotia Natural Resources general guide to harvesting
- The Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association (NSWOOA) has a comprehensive list of resources available to help you manage your woodlot in a way that will work for you
- Interested in attracting a particular wildlife species? Check out this guide to see how your management practices could create suitable habitat