Timber and Silviculture on South Carolina's National Forests

Ecosystem Management


Timber

In the Organic Act of 1897, Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, and National Forest Management Act of 1976, Congress directed that one of the purposes of national forests should be managing the ecosystem. This includes timber harvesting and removing merchantable trees for vegetative management.

Trees are important to the American people for scenic quality, recreation, wood for commercial and home use, wildlife habitat and watershed protection to name a few. One of our multiple goals is to manage a sustainable forest capable of producing high–quality wood products in perpetuity.

The Forest Service requires much time and planning using the latest scientific knowledge go into the preparation of a timber sale. It may take years to complete the treatment, from the start of the planning process through the completion of any prescribed harvesting. Funds from harvests are deposited into the National Treasury less a percentage that is returned to the specific county from which the trees were harvested. These returns are designated to be used for roads and schools.

Timber Sales

Silviculture

Silviculture is defined as the theory and practice of controlling forest establishment, composition, structure, and growth. More simply said, silviculture is about establishing, growing and tending stands of trees. A silviculturist is a forester who specializes in growing and managing trees that occur within the forest. Forests are not simply just trees, but are made up of complex ecosystems. Therefore, regeneration is not simply planting trees, but is a complex process affecting the entire ecosystem. It can include such management tools as prescribe burning, scarification, chopping and thinning.

Using knowledge about individual trees species (silvics), silviculturists are able to manage forests for various objectives. These objectives vary according to the landowner’s goals, such as timber production, wildlife habitat and recreational enjoyment.