Management on Pioneer Forest

Shown below are three illustrations which together depict how Pioneer's forest management works. For a more-detailed written description of our method of uneven-aged forest management known as single-tree selection harvest see our "Primer".

Characteristics of the Forested Landscape on Pioneer Forest. Per acre the forest averages 51.4 trees greater than 10 inches in diameter. Of these, there are:

  • 37.2 trees measuring 10-14 inches (understory trees)
  • 11.9 trees measuring 14-18 inches (mostly overstory trees)
  • 2.3 trees measuring 18-22+ inches (overstory)
Before selective harvest After selective harvest

Harvests on Pioneer Forest remove an average of 12-15 trees per acre.
Harvest decisions on which trees to cut or leave are based on:

  • Vigor
  • Spacing
  • Species
  • Poor Form
  • Wind Damage
  • Disease
  • Position
  • Age
  • Insects





The above image displays a Before and After overlay of a forest using Single-Tree Selection Techniques

  • Commercial production provides income
  • Canopy gaps are created in the forest canopy.
  • Light penetrates to the forest floor
  • Fully-functioning forest remains on the landscape
  • Harvest cycle is sustainable

Origins of Uneven-Aged Forest Management as Used on Pioneer Forest

The system of forest management, used on Pioneer Forest since the early 1950's, is a very old one, originating in Europe in the 1700's in mixed beech-fir forests. As practiced at that time, the system represented an accumulation of knowledge among generations of private forest owners. Europeans viewed forests as an important economic asset that, through careful management, could yield income to be used for important and periodic family needs. Harvest revenues could be used for building construction or repairs, education, weddings, or emergency. Through this experience, beginning nearly three hundred years ago, European families passed along what eventually became a recognized practice of periodically selecting trees from the forest for harvest.

In the 1800's a harvest technique known as single-tree selection was developed, as a part of the more formal description of uneven-aged forest management, by Henri Biolley in Switzerland and Adolph Gurnaud in France. From Gernaud came the idea of the sustainability of forests through the application of single-tree selection harvests while Biolley developed the technical rules for its use as a formal management tool.

Here in the United States there has been a great deal of debate regarding uneven-aged management. It is hard to find dispassionate discussion on its merits. This is especially true for the single-tree selection technique of uneven-aged management. The European, and our own experience here in Missouri, are clear in one respect--that in certain forest types, when applied with a combination of scientific analysis and practical experience, uneven-aged management can be successfully implemented in the long term.

Click here to view Pioneer Forest brochure (right click and "save as" to save)