The right half of this photo has had a Forest Stand Improvement treatment, the left half has not.   Note the difference in tree spacing, stem straightness and light reaching the forest floor.

Forest Stand Improvement (a.k.a. Timber Stand Improvement, or TSI), in short, is the process of reducing the density of living trees for the overall improvement of a given forest stand. This thinning allows the remaining, or "crop", trees to thrive.

Parameters for selecting trees for removal:

  • Undesireable species
  • Poor growth form
  • Disease
  • Tree spacing
  • Overmaturity (dying)

Benefits to remaining trees:

  • More light available
  • More nutrients available
  • More growing space

Benefits for Quality Timber Production:

  • More desireable species composition
  • Straighter, taller trees
  • Faster growth
  • Openings to allow regeneration

Benefits to wildlife:

  • Vast increase in browse-layer vegetation
  • Increased nut production by remaining trees
  • Girdled trees = excellent nest trees for birds/squirrels
  • Felled trees = excellent cover for rabbits and other small mammals

Ecosystem Renovations

Glade area prior to renovation.

Glade area immediately following renovation.

Ecosystem renovations typically involve returning an area to the type of ecosystem that it was when white men first arrived hundereds of years ago.

Common Types of Renovations:

  • Glade
  • Savannah
  • Clearcut (prairie renovation)

Benefits of Ecosystem Renovations:

  • Restoring naturally adapted ecosystem types to their historic range
  • Ecosystem-specific wildlife habitat
  • Aesthetics

Timber Quality-Specific FSI

Forest stand following FSI.

Timber Quality FSI is a Forest Stand Improvement treatement with a sole purpose of maximizing timber quality in every aspect in a given forest stand.

Differences from other types of FSI:

  • More selective for species composition - favor most valuable timber trees
  • More selective for tree stem striaghtness
  • More selective for tree spacing

Wildlife-Specific FSI

Forest Stand following FSI.

Wildlife specific FSI is a Forest Stand Improvement treatment in which the resulting stand will be maximized for the year-round benefit of the wildlife species in question, whether it be for all wildlife, or just a single species.

Differences from other types of FSI:

  • Leave a wider range of tree species - for food and cover throughout the year
  • Less selective for stem straightness
  • Less selective for tree spacing

Multi-Purpose FSI

Multi-Purpose FSI is a Forest Stand Improvement treatment in which trees are selected for both their value as timber trees, and their value to wildlife.   This is by far the most common type of FSI treatment.

Differences from other types of FSI:

  • Consider all aspects of forest benefits
  • Forest is managed for timber production, while ensuring quality wildlife habitat

Edge Feathering

A recently completed edge feathering.

A 1-year old edge feathering. Note the abundance of woody shrubs and brambles that will provide year-round security cover.

Edge feathering is a common type of FSI treatment in which all trees within 30 feet of the edge are felled out into the field. The area where they are to be felled will have already been sprayed to remove fescue and other non-wildlife friendly grasses, and allow woody shrubs and an abundance of annual weeds to thrive, creating excellent year-round security and thermal cover for quail and other small, ground dwelling animals.