Forestrry Aesthetics

There's no question that sloppy cutting operations look awful.  You'll find high tops, ruts in skid roads, damage to residual trees, and debris at log landings.  Even if they're carefully done, heavy cutting operations don't leave much in the way of big trees to look at.  On the other hand, carefully planned and executed cutting operations can minimize impacts and even enhance the visual attractiveness of forest stands. 

There are many steps to be taken in setting up a timber sale contract and supervising its implementation to assure that high aesthetic standards are maintained.  These steps are explained in the aesthetic improvements paper.  Carefully planned cutting operations can enhance visual appeal.  These operations are explain in the woodscaping paper.

Some people like the natural regrowth that occurs on forest land that has been thinned out.  Some people don't like regeneration coming up on the ground at all.  But since this is a natural result of thinning the overstory, it's hard to avoid.  Regeneration can be minimized by light thinnings, but such thinnings are usually in conflict with silvicultural objectives, ie, thinning out so residual trees can grow rapidly, or regenerating stands to a higher percentage of high grade species.

It needs to be remembered that slash consists of organic material that goes back into the soil and enriches it.  Nutrients are concentrated in the small branches.  Some landowners ask about having it all removed, including the unmerchantable small branches.  That is possible at a cost, but there's also a cost to the long-term productivity of the soil.