The decline of the clearcut: 26 years of change in silvicultural practices and implications in Minnesota

M. A. Windmuller-Campione, M. B. Russell, Eli S Sagor, A. W. D’Amato, Alan R Ek, K. J. Puettmann, Madison G Rodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Silvicultural decisions and forest-management practices in Minnesota represent the collaboration and partnership between forest managers from multiple organizations and forest researchers. To better understand current practices, trends, needs, and opportunities, Minnesota has invested in the collection of quantitative data on the application of silvicultural systems and forest-management activities in 1991, 1996, 2008, and 2017. Drawing on those data, the goal of our study is to summarize 26 years of data to characterize and quantify trends in forest-management practices. During this period of time, timberland ownership (acres) has increased, whereas harvested volume has decreased (cords). Across state, federal, county, forest industry, and tribal forest lands, which collectively represent the majority of timberlands in Minnesota, the clearcut system decreased from 91% of the harvested area in 1991 to 72 percent in 2017. In contrast, the proportion of total harvested area as part of shelterwood, seed tree, selection, and thinning treatments all more than doubled from 1991 to 2017. Factors influencing the changes relate to forest health and diseases, shifts in ownership structure, and shifts in organizational policy and/or goals.The factors identified mirror many of the trends forest managers are experiencing in other regions, nationally and internationally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-259
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Forestry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research was provided by the Interagency Information Cooperative,University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources, the University of Minnesota Extension, and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station under projects MIN-42-063 and MIN-42-068. The authors wish to thank the numerous agency personnel from county, federal, industry, tribal, non-profit, and state organizations that

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of American Foresters. All rights reserved.


  • Even-aged systems
  • Forest health
  • Regeneration
  • Silviculture
  • Tending
  • Uneven-aged systems


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