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-Diameter Limit Cutting


Diameter-limit cutting (DLC) is a commonly used approach to harvesting forests.  Also known as selective harvesting, this approach challenges the long-term ecological and economic viability of forests. The driving philosophy is often viewed as an approach that “takes the best and leaves the rest.”  In a DLC harvest, all of the trees greater than a specified diameter at stump height (often 16" or 40.6cm) are removed. DLC does not consider the quality or health of remaining trees, and how the quality or species composition of remaining trees will contribute to the newly regenerating forest.

Printable Module Background Reading

Activity Description:

Students will explore how tree harvesting changes forest stand structure through a simulated DLC harvest.  Students will create re-search plots and use measuring skills to identify trees that would be harvested in a typical DLC harvest. After marking the “harvested” trees, students examine the composition and prospective value of remaining trees. After the exercise, students will recognize the importance of quality forest regeneration and understand the importance and value of sound and scientifically-based forest management.

Printable Equipment and Activity Instructions

Alternative Harvesting Methods

Additional Informational Weblinks