In the absence of sunlight, the dark, cool forest floor becomes relatively uninhabitable for the plants and to the wildlife that had earlier thrived there. Hence, to rejuvenate the forest as a nurturing environment, it becomes time to harvest a stand by clearcutting and start anew.
According to todays forest wisdom, new methods of clearcutting attempt to blend cut stands into the landscape. By removing smaller plots of trees that are mature enough for harvesting, clearcutting mimics natural occurrences like tornados, hurricanes or forest fires that have been unnaturally suppressed to protect people and property.
Creating Wildlife Havens
The latest research shows that when performed correctly, clearcutting especially benefits both the timber crop trees, native vegetation associated with the local conditions and the wildlife living within. Harvesting the aging timber allows sunlight to reach the forest floor. This provides the opportunity to establish a new vibrant forest.
That ability also benefits thousands of plant and wildlife species that occupy the nations forests. Clearcutting adds to their vitality.
A mosaic of clearcut areas interspersed among stands at different stages of development becomes a dynamic haven for many species of forest inhabitants. A study conducted by Champion International and Stephen F. Austin State University found that forest animals thrive at different stages of forest growth, due largely to varying vegetation maturity and the unique needs of individual species.
Clearcuts rearrange habitat and wildlife population according to the age of the clearcut stand. A recently harvested area is an excellent place for deer, grouse, young turkey, or quail. As the replacement forest ages and grows, it provides different structure and browse suitable for different animals' habitat and food needs.