Forest Terminology PDF Print E-mail
Below is a glossary of useful forestry terms and other descriptions:

Acre: A unit of land containing 43,560 square feet. If it is a square, it would have a side of 208 feet by 208 feet.

American Tree Farm System: a program designed to sustaining forests, watershed and healthy habitats through private stewardship. Their mission is to "promote the growing of renewable forest resources on private lands while protecting environmental benefits and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry". To date, enrolled tree farms are certified to the PEFC standard.

img_0718-rsBasal Area: Cross-sectional area of a tree, measured at DBH. Typically known as a measure of stand density, expressed in square feet/acre.

Best Management Practices (BMP's): BMP's are designed to protect water quality during forest harvests, and are developed to mimic and/or protect the natural functions of forests. It is a collection of techniques in all aspects of operations, such as road building, stream crossings, how to correctly install bridges and culverts, trails, water diversions, log landings, etc.
 
Biofuels: organic material such as wood, waste, and alcohol fuels, as well as gaseous and liquid fuels produced from these feedstocks when they are burned to produce energy.

Board Foot: Unit of measure, a 1" by 1' by 1' board. Used in scaling sawlogs and veneer.
 
Boreal Forest: a region in North America that consists of mostly coniferous forest land. Also called "taiga", this type is the coldest forest zone in the northern hemisphere and covers a 1,000 km wide band over the continent.

Buffer Zone: A transitional zone between two distinct habitats, a buffer zone can act to protect sensitive areas from degradation and may provide additional diversity within a landscape. Generally used along water bodies or around dwellings.

Chain: a Surveyor's unit of measure equaling 66 feet. Commonly used in deed descriptions.
 
Chain of Custody (CoC): This is the process by which certified forest products are verified to come from properly managed, sustainable sources. Organizations wishing to become CoC certified must meet the minimum requirements in product traceability, storage and handling, invoicing, and record keeping. An on-site audit by an accredited third-party verifier is necessary before an organization can be come CoC certified.

Cord: A unit of measure for stacked wood encompassing 128 cubic feet of wood, bark and air space (4' by 4' by 8')

Crop Tree: Those trees in a stand left after thinning and destined to form the "final" crop, usually the highest in quality and value of all the trees in a stand. DBH: Diameter at breast height, measure 4.5 feet above the ground.

Den Tree: A tree with a cavity or cavities used by wildlife.

Dominant Tree: A tree which usually has a large healthy crown that is part of the overstory. This tree will dominate its immediate area. It receives full light from above and partly from the sides.

Edge: The place in the environment where two distinct habitats meet. And edge often provides resources needed by a variety of wildlife, like food and cover.

Epicormic Branching: Branches arising from buds in the bark along main stem, most commonly occurring in trees under crown stress.
 
Forest Stewardship Council: In terms of the FSC scheme, there are two types of certification. In order for land to achieve FSC endorsement, its forest management practices must meet the FSC's ten principles and other assorted criteria. For manufacturers of forest products, including paper manufacturers like Sappi, Chain of Custody (CoC) certification involves independent certification of the supply chain, which identifies and tracks the timber through all stages of the production process from source to end product.

Forest type/stand: A group of trees, occupying a specific area and uniform in composition, species, age arrangement and condition, as to be distinguished from other adjoining forested areas.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Integrates hardware, software and data in order to manage, analyze, and display a variety of information.

Girdle: The removal or killing of a ring of bark around the tree stem so that the flow of nutrients from the crown to roots is blocked. The roots die and the whole tree is killed.
 
Greenhouse gases (GHGs): The GHGs included in the Kyoto Protocol are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.

Intermediate Tree: A tree shorter than a dominant stem but extends into the crown cover formed by dominant and co-dominant trees. They receive some direct sunlight from above but none from the sides.

img_0719-rsLanding: A place where logs and pulp are assembled for loading and transportation to a mill. Other names include header, yard, and deck.

Liquidation Harvesting: The Maine legislature has defined this as "the purchase of timberland followed by a harvest that removes most or all commercial value in standing timber, without regard for long-term forest management principles, and the subsequent sale or attempted resale of the harvested land within 5 years."

Management Plan: A management plan is a document that contains the landowners goals and objectives, current physical descriptions of the property, harvest plans for the present and future, identifies cultural and environmental areas of interests, etc. A current management plan is required if you are enrolled into Tree Growth Tax Law or under the American Tree Farm System.

Mast: Any nut, seed, or fruit produced by woody plants and consumed by wildlife.

MBF: Thousand board feet of sawlogs; 2 cords = 1 MBF, approximately.

Overstory Removal (OSR): Is the last phase in a Shelterwood system, where the mature trees are completely removed and the younger stand takes over as the dominant canopy.

Overtopped/Suppressed: Trees with crowns entirely below the general level of the canopy (dominant and co-dominant trees), receiving no direct light either from above or from the sides.
 
PEFC: The world's largest forest certification system, the PEFC is focused on promoting sustainable forest management. Using multi-stakeholder processes, the organization develops forest management certification standards and schemes which have been signed by 37 nations in Europe and other inter-governmental processes for sustainable forestry management around the world.

Raptor: Predatory birds such as hawks and eagles.

Regeneration: Young forest trees produced naturally from seed of mature trees.
 
Renewable Energy: Energy generated from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, water, wood, geothermal, etc, which are naturally replenished.

Residual Stand: Those trees remaining uncut following a harvesting operation.

Riparian Area: An area adjacent to a water body such as a stream or pond, also acts as the transitional zone between aquatic habitats and dry or upland habitats. Riparian areas are very important in the protection of water quality and have many values for wildlife.

Sapling: A small tree less than four inches at dbh, and over 4.5 feet tall. These are usually, but not always young trees.

Sawlog: A portion of a tree that meets minimum standards of diameter, length, and defect for sawmills. Usually at least 8' long, sound and straight, and with minimum diameters specified by specific sawmills. Boards are sawn from sawlogs to be made into furniture, flooring and construction lumber, etc.

Scarification: The disturbance of the forest floor to expose areas of mineral soil. This is done to prepare a seedbed and encourage establishment of desired species of tree seedlings, i.e. white pine or northern hardwoods.

Seed Tree System: The removal of the mature stand in one entry, except for a few individuals which will act as the seed source to regenerate the forest floor.

Shelterwood System: Is when in a timber management, a new stand of trees is started in the environment before the older one is removed.

Site index: The height to which a tree species will grow in 50 years on a given site.

Slash: The tops, branches and non-merchantable parts of trees left on the forest floor after a harvesting job.

Snags: Dead standing trees, often with tops broken off; which serve as perches, lookouts, foraging, and home sites for wildlife. They are also considered extremely hazardous by O.S.H.A.

Species Diversity: Maintaining a number of wildlife and/or tree species; requires diversity of habitats.

Spring Pole: Saplings or smaller trees that are bent over by a larger felled tree. They can be under extreme tension and are dangerous if not cut properly.

Stocking: The degree of occupancy of the growing space of land by trees, measured in stems/acre.
 
Sustainable Forestry Initiative ®: The SFI program is a comprehensive system of objectives and performance measures which integrate the sustained growing and harvesting of trees and the protection of plants and animals

Sprouts: Regeneration of stems coming from the stump of a harvested tree. Trees that commonly do this are red maple and beech.

Stem Exclusion: Where trees start to compete with each other for nutrients; vigorous stems survive and weaker ones die.

Stumpage: A term used to describe the value of standing timber.

Suckers: Regeneration of stems coming from the roots of a harvested tree. Trees that commonly do this are poplars.

Topography: The characteristic of the land determined by surface features; usually expressed as flat, rolling, gently rolling, or mountainous.

Tree Farm: See American Tree Farm System.

Tree Growth Tax Law: This law of 1972 was designed to assist forest landowners in maintaining their parcels as productive forests by helping reduce taxes per acre of land. To enroll, you must have at least 10 acres of land managed for forest products and a management plan.

TSI: Timber stand improvement. Pre-commercial or noncommercial thinning, weeding, and/or crop tree release.

Veneer Logs: Usually a very high quality product. Veneer is peeled or sliced for paneling, furniture, and other uses.

Vernal Pool: A seasonal water body that has no permanent inlet, no viable population of fish, provides breeding ground, and is habitat for endangered and rare animals. Vernal Pools can contain up to 4 'indicator' species, which gives a idea of how healthy and significant the pool is. The four species are wood frogs, blue spotted salamanders, yellow spotted salamanders, and fairy shrimp. Since Fall of 2007, significant vernal pools became protected under the Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA). In order to be considered significant, a pool needs to meet certain criteria over an extended period of time.

Vigor: Ability of a tree to transform environmental resources into its own substances in large quantities and at a rapid pace.

Wildlife Habitat: Four basic components of habitat are food, water, cover, and space. Specific requirements for each of these components will vary with species, season of year, and the age and sex of the animal.

Wolf Trees: Usually large in size, limby, and poorly formed with little timber value. Same function as snags, except the tree is still alive and possibly producing mast.


 

Four things really pleased me about SAPPI's harvest of my woodlot:

1) the foresters spent a lot of time with me, including walking the lot 3 times prior to the harvest, kept me informed throughout the harvest, and met with me after the harvest to review the project and make sure I was satisfied;
2) the loggers followed our plan exactly and did a superb job - and they were always happy to talk with me when I stopped by to monitor the project - and they cut 10 cords of firewood for my personal use;
3) the project was completed in all respects exactly as planned and promised;
4) the prices I received were very fair and my money was received promptly after delivery of the wood to the mills.


George A. Smith
Mount Vernon