Glossary

This is a glossary of common forestry terms that forest landowners should be familiar with.  Click on each of the letter tabs at the top of the glossary to see entries starting with that letter.

A

Acre
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An area of land measuring 43,560 square feet. A square 1-acre plot measures 209 feet by 209 feet.

B

Basal area
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The cross sectional area in square feet of a tree trunk measured at breast height, 4.5 feet above the ground.
Biltmore stick

 it is a tool used to measure different tree dimensions, such as diameter at breast height and height. 

Board foot
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A unit of wood measuring 1-inch in thickness by 12-inch in width by 12 inches in length.
Board foot volume
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length (feet) x width (inches) x thickness (inches) divide by 12
Buffer strip
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A visual buffer consisting of trees or other vegetation used to screen a road and or streamside.

C

Canopy
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A layer or multiple layers of branches and foliage at the top or crown of a forest’s trees.
Chain
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It is a unit of length commonly used in surveying and forestry.  One chain is equivelent to 66 feet.  Note that a 10 square chain area is equal to 1 acre!

Clear cut harvest
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A harvest that removes all trees within a given area.
Competition
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The fight between trees and other plants to obtain sunlight, nutrients, water, and growing space.

Conifer (softwood)
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Trees that are usually evergreen, bear cones, and have needles or scale-like leaves such as pine, spruce, fir, and cedar
Conservation
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The improvement and wise use of natural resources for present and future generations of trees.
Crown
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The branches and foliage at the top of a tree.
Crown class
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A tree classification system based on the tree's relative height, foliage density, and ability to intercept light. There are four different classes. Dominant Trees are larger-than-average trees with broad, well-developed crowns. These trees receive direct sunlight from all sides and above. Codominant Trees are average-to-fairly large trees with medium-sized crowns that form the forest canopy. These trees receive full light from above but are crowded on the sides. Intermediate Trees are medium-sized trees with small crowns below the general level of the canopy. Intermediate trees receive little direct light, are poor crop trees, and should be removed during thinning operations. Suppressed tree are small trees that grow below the tree canopy and receive no direct sunlight from any direction.

Cruise
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A survey of the lumber that will be sold and cut, by determining species, products, size, quality, or other characteristics.
Cull
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A log of marketable size that is useless for all but firewood or pulpwood.
Cutting contract
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A written, legally binding document used in the sale of standing timber singed by both the seller and the buyer.
Cutting cycle
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The planned time interval between timber harvest operations within the same stand. Example, on a 5 year cutting cycle some trees are harvested every 5 years.

D

Deciduous trees (Hardwoods)
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Trees with broad, flat leaves shed on an annual basis whose wood hardness varies among individual species. Some hardwood species are actually softer then some softwood trees.
Diameter at breast height (DBH)
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The diameter of a tree measured in inches at breast height 4.5 feet above the ground.

E

Edge
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The transition between two different types or ages of vegetation.
Ephemeral stream
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Water that travels in natural channels only when there is rain fall.
Erosion
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The wearing away of land or soil by the action of wind, water, or ice.

F

Firebreak
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Nonflammable barrier such as mineral soil or slow?burning vegetation used to slow or stop the fires.
Forest management
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Proper care and control of wooded land to maintain health of the environment.
Forestry
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The science of managing forests to produce various products; to take proper care and control of wooded land, to maintain health repairing forests meet desired goals and have biodiversity for nature and recreations for humans.

M

Marketing
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The selling of timber or other forest resources based on skillful negotiation, knowledge of timber markets, and the aid of a competent broker or consultant.
Marking
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The physical process of selecting trees to be cut or left during a harvest. Used by spray painting a spot on the tree.
Mature tree
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A tree that has reached a desired size or age for its intended use.
MBF
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An abbreviation, one thousand board feet that is a typical unit of volume for saw logs and manufactured wood products.
Mensuration
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The measurement and calculation of volume, growth, and development of a signal tree or stands.
Mixed stand
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A timber stand that has less than 80 percent of the trees in the main canopy are of a single species

P

Perennial
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Plants that live or grow for more than one year.
Pest
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Any organism that is out of place or causes stress to a desired organism.
Pesticide
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Any chemical used to kill or control pests.
Prescribe or Controlled burn
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The use of fire under specific environmental conditions to achieve forest management objectives. Used to reduce hazardous fuel levels, and to get rid of unwanted vegetation.
Preservation
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to keep forests in an undisturbed and an unmanaged state.

Pulpwood
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Wood used in the manufacture of paper, fiberboard, or other fiber wood products.

R

Reforestation
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Regrowing a forest by planting or seeding an area from which forest vegetation has been removed.
Regeneration cut
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A strategy in which old trees are removed in order to rehabilitation of a new stand of seedlings.
Rotation
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The number of years for to trees to grow back to a level of maturity.

S

Salvage cut
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Harvesting of dead or damaged trees or of trees in danger of being killed by insects, disease, flooding, or other factors.
Sapling
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A small tree, usually between 2 to 4 inches at DBH.
Sawlog or sawtimber
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A log or tree that is large enough to be sawed into lumber. Usually 10 to 12 inches in diameter and in length no less than 8 feet
Seed tree cut
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A harvesting method in which a few scattered trees are left in the area to provide seed for a new forest stand.
Seed year
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A year in which a given species produces a large amount of seeds.
Seedling
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A tree, usually less than 2 inches diameter at breast height, that has grown from a seed
Selective cutting
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Removal of individual trees or groups of trees to improve or regenerate a stand.
Shade intolerant tree
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Trees that cannot thrive in the shade of larger trees
Shelterwood cut
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Removing trees on the harvest area in a series of two or more cuttings so new seedlings can grow from the seed of older trees.
Silviculture
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Establishing, tending, and reproducing forest stands of desired characteristics.
Site Index
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A measure of forest site quality based on the height of the dominant trees.

Site preparation
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Preparing an area of land for planting, direct seeding, or natural reproduction by burning, chemical vegetation control, or by mechanical operations.
Slash
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Branches, bark, or other residue left on the ground after logging operations.
Stand
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An easily defined area of the forest that is relatively uniform in species composition or age and can be managed as a single unit.
Standing timber
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lumber that has not been cut or sold.
Stocking
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A description of the number of trees, basal area, or volume per acre in a forest stand compared with a desired level for balanced health and growth.
Stumpage
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The value of a tree or group of trees as they stand uncut.

T

Thinning
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A tree removal that reduces tree density and competition between trees in a stand.
Timber cruise
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A survey of forestland to locate timber and estimate its quantity by species, products, size, quality, or other characteristics
Tolerant species
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A species of tree that has the ability to grow in the shade of other trees and in competition with them.
Tree farm
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A privately owned forest or woodland in which timber crop production is a major management goal.

U

Understory
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The layer formed by the crowns of smaller trees in a forest.

W

Water bar
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A diagonal ditch or hump in a trail that diverts surface water runoff to minimize soil erosion.
Watershed
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An area where all water running off the land drains to a specific location.
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